Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, Joined by Members of the Board of Aldermen and Advocates, Signs Bill Creating Reproductive Equity Fund, Strengthening COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Programs
The Fund will support local providers offering postpartum support, lactation help, doula assistance, and access to abortion support.
Today, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones signed Board Bill 61, creating a Reproductive Equity Fund to support St. Louisans at every stage of pregnancy. The Fund will support local providers offering postpartum support, lactation help, doula assistance, and access to abortion through logistical support. The bill also dedicates $1.6 million in funding for COVID-19 testing and vaccine incentives.
“Today, St. Louis is taking decisive action, showing our state - and our entire country - we will not stop fighting to protect access to reproductive healthcare,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “The Reproductive Equity Fund will empower St. Louisans to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves and their communities, while addressing the disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.”
The COVID-19 pandemic deepened existing disparities in reproductive healthcare access. Funded through the American Rescue Plan, the Reproductive Equity Fund will help address these inequities exacerbated by the virus.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic started in St. Louis nearly two and half years ago, it caused significant disruptions for individuals seeking reproductive healthcare, including birth control, annual exams, and family planning services,” said City of St. Louis Department of Health Director Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis. “Through this effort, the City of St. Louis looks to address high maternal mortality rates, alleviate racial disparities, and nurture an equitable future for all St. Louis residents.”
The Reproductive Equity Fund is the result of extensive community input and feedback solicited by Pro-Choice Missouri. The group convened focus groups and the Brown Birth Worker Support Group, a committee of more than 30 birth workers organizing to support reproductive healthcare access.
“Board Bill 61, I’m proud to say, was created by local birth workers and pregnant and parenting St. Louisans, who are empowered to advocate for what our community needs and deserves. When I think of the countless conversations I’ve had with people harmed by lack of access to abortions, and barriers to pregnancy care within the COVID-19 pandemic, I know this bill will have a direct and meaningful impact,” said Dr. Love Holt.