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New St. Louis aldermen take their seats on first day of session

Board of Aldermen President, Lewis Reed, (left), presides over the first day of the city's newest legislative session on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in City Hall. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS  •  Aldermanic President Lewis Reed and 23 of the 28 ward aldermen on Friday issued a statement blasting what they called the "draconian" bill to ban most abortions passed by the Missouri Legislature.

"This alarming bill seeks to ban a woman's access to safe and legal abortions in our state and outlaws abortion just eight weeks into pregnancy, which is often much sooner than a woman even knows she is pregnant," the statement said.

The statement, issued after the Board of Aldermen held its regular weekly meeting, also complained that the Legislature has failed to consider or pass key initiatives to improve health care for women and children such as expansion of Medicaid.

The state measure was given final approval about the same time by the Missouri House and sent to Gov. Mike Parson, a supporter, for his signature.

The aldermanic statement also said state lawmakers haven't dealt with the state's rates of death and injury from gun violence, an "out of control" incidence of syphilis and the "opioid crisis."

"If Governor Parson and the Missouri General Assembly are truly concerned about Missouri women's health and 'life', we suggest starting with any of these urgent problems in our state," the group said.

City Treasurer Tishaura Jones, a former state representative, also endorsed the statement. Alderman Christine Ingrassia of the 6th Ward gathered support for the statement.

The five aldermen who didn't back the statement were Joe Vollmer of the 10th Ward, Larry Arnowitz of the 12th, Tom Oldenburg of the 16th, Joe Roddy of the 17th and Joe Vaccaro of the 23rd.

Mark Schlinkmann is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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