Ruling strikes down parts of St. Louis ‘abortion ordinance’

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ST. LOUIS – A federal judge has ruled that some provisions of a St. Louis ordinance banning discrimination based on reproductive health decisions violate the U.S. Constitution and Missouri law.

A lawsuit questioned the city’s 2017 ordinance that bars employers from hiring or firing workers based on whether they have had an abortion, been pregnant outside marriage, or used contraceptives or artificial insemination. Landlords also can’t refuse tenants based on those criteria.

Judge Audrey Fleissig says the ordinance violated the First Amendment rights of Catholic elementary schools and a home for pregnant homeless women by requiring them to employ or house people who are not abortion opponents.

Fleissig also ruled that a provision requiring a company operated by a devout Catholic to offer health care covering abortion and contraception violated Missouri law.

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