Governor Eric Greitens held a "pro-life rally" in St. Charles tonight to drum up enthusiasm for the special session he called next week.
Greitens hopes to repeal a St. Louis ordinance protecting women who have had abortions from a job or housing discrimination.
He is also encouraging the legislature to pass greater restrictions on abortion clinics. Pro-choice protesters also showed up tonight.
Greitens received a standing ovation and then spoke to hundreds of supporters about the reason he called the general session next week.
"We have these radical politicians in St. Louis that are attacking pregnancy care centers trying to make St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city and then they want to create others abortion sanctuary cities around the state of Missouri. Well, I'm going to tell you not on my watch," he said to a round of applause.
He says the ordinance attacks anti-abortion centers like Our Lady’s Inn in St. Louis to hire only pro-life workers.
“Our ladies inn wants make wants to make sure that they and every pro-life organization can hire pro-life workers and they've had to go to court to defend themselves over this,” he said.
But outside pro-choice supporters, though fewer in numbers, were just as passionate.
“We believe the governor putting his political ambitions above taxpayers wants and needs and $20,000 a day or more it's not something our state can afford right now with such as budget crisis,” said Alison Dreth, who protested against the special session at today's rally. Dreft is the executive director of the Missouri Chapter of NARAL.
They held signs and demanded to enter the Heart of St. Charles Banquet Center where the rally was held, but at the request of the rally organizers left the premises, eventually standing near the street.
Greitens said he was working for the people who elected him and that he would not have called legislators back to Jefferson City had they addressed the issue before the general session ended.