Governor Greitens hosts rally for support of special session

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ST. CHARLES - Governor Eric Greitens visited St. Charles Friday evening to hold the last of three rallies across the state looking for support of the special session he called earlier this week. 

The special session focuses on pregnancy resource centers and proposals for health and safety standards in abortion clinics.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee joined Grietens in Springfield and Joplin earlier in the day, but Huckabee was unable to attend the final rally. 

"We called this special session because it is important for us both to protect pregnancy care centers, but also we are proposing some common sense health and safety standards for people all over the state of Missouri," Greitens said.

Gov. Greitens said he feels it is essential this special session go well, and he expects it to because of the tremendous support from people across the state.

Greitens said during the rally there are "radical" abortion organizations trying to cut funding for pregnancy health centers in the state.  

The call for the special session is in response to an ordinance passed by the city of St. Louis. 

The ordinance bans employers from firing, refusing to hire or disciplining women because they have an abortion, take contraception, use artificial insemination or become pregnant while not married. It also bans such discrimination in housing.

Gov. Greitens said the measures would hurt women across the state and said it will "not happen under my watch." 

"I am proud to be pro-life, and I believe that we should all stand up to protect life," Greitens said. 

Opposition of the special session and supporters of Planned Parenthood protested outside in the parking lot before the rally. 

People exchanged words in the parking lot before the event as both sides chanted in support of their view. 

Planned Parenthood released a statement Wednesday condemning the special session. 

In the statement Planned Parenthood said, "Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri opposes this extreme, frivolous and expensive effort to endanger women’s health with even more medically unnecessary restrictions on safe, legal abortion." 

M'Evie Mead, director of policy and organizing for Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri, also released a statement, saying in part, "Since the November election, tens of thousands of Missourians have taken to the streets, filled town halls, and rallied to support reproductive rights, access to abortion, and affordable health care. Planned Parenthood supporters in Missouri, a list that grows by the thousands each month, will not tolerate politicians who promote more government intrusion into their personal reproductive health decisions." 

The call for this special session comes just a few weeks after another special session in late May and early June centered around a Steel Mill Bill.