Aldermen passed a bill adding women’s reproductive health choices to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance Friday evening with a 17-10 vote.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the bill bans employers and landlords from discrimination based on abortions, contraceptive choices or pregnancies.
Fifteenth Ward Alderman Megan Green sponsored the bill and said the legislation is aimed at preventing discrimination against women in deep-red Missouri areas where lawmakers are less likely to offer housing and workplace protections when it comes to reproductive.
“Employers can have their own beliefs,” Green said in the Post-Dispatch report. “But they shouldn’t be able to impose those beliefs on people or fire someone because of those beliefs.”
However, the Post-Dispatch reports, the bill came with opposition from archdiocese of St. Louis, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and other groups that argue that it would force them to act against their belief.
“The laws of the city of St. Louis now actively protect and promote the killing of unborn children,” Archbishop Robert Carlson said in a statement.
The Post-Dispatch wrote that Thomas Buckley, general counsel to the Archdiocese, said the bill “promotes religious discrimination against those who don’t want to be complicit in the evils of abortion.”
St. Louis joins the District of Columbia, Boston and Delaware in passing similar legislation.
“People of faith will hold it against elected officials who vote for this bill,” Buckly said during the hearing.