Senators hear bills on employers' rights regarding abortion
JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers heard new legislation at the second special session Tuesday regarding the rights employers have on the issue of abortion.
The session is in response to a St. Louis ordinance which states an employer cannot refuse to hire someone for having an abortion, using contraception or being pregnant.
Lawmakers proposed Senate Bill 6 to counteract the St. Louis ordinance. The bill would allow employers to deny someone a job for their beliefs on abortion.
Samuel Lee, an abortion opponent said he and other supporters of the bill just want to protect anti-abortion organizations from having to hire abortion rights advocates.
"This law needs to be passed to protect these organizations from forcing them to participate in abortion," Lee said.
The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Bob Dixon (R- Springfield), said it includes protections for alternative to abortion agencies.
"It acknowledges the rights of these agencies to operate freely and engage in speech without government interference," Dixon said.
Dixon also said the St. Louis ordinance would infringe on the rights of landowners who do not want to sell or rent their property to an abortion agency.
Alison Dreith, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, said the proposed bill could discriminate against people who believe in abortion rights.
She said the St. Louis ordinance "protects people from discrimination and pregnancy and reproductive health decisions including abortion, birth control and in-vitro fertilization."
Dreith said if local laws don't promote discrimination or violate national law, the state government should not be involved.
"What works in a big city is not always the same for what works in a small town, which is why local government exists, to pass laws that work for people who live there," Dreith said.