Jackson County leaders consider redirecting $1 million for women traveling for abortions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – The Jackson County Legislature will meet Monday for the first time since the county executive unveiled a proposal to redirect $1 million for women who want to travel out-of-state for abortion procedures.

County Executive Frank White’s proposal would create the Jackson County Reproductive Equity Fund, which would redirect $1 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act money to cover women and families’ cost of transportation, lodging and childcare while seeking an abortion outside of Missouri, where there are strong abortion restrictions.

The plan would still need to be approved by the Jackson County Legislature. There is no guarantee the body will discuss the proposal Monday. If legislators do take up the proposal at their 10 a.m. meeting, though, they can approve the measure, deny it, or table it for a later date.

“As elected leaders, it is our responsibility to take action when our community is in danger and it is clear that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has created a major health crisis in Jackson County,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr., in a statement when he unveiled the proposal last week. “The Jackson County Reproductive Equity Fund will provide support for women of all ages and circumstances, including victims of rape and incest who are now legally forbidden from terminating the pregnancy of their assailant.”

Two members of the county legislature expressed support for White’s plan.

“County Executive White is absolutely right – cities, counties and states are now the battlegrounds for reproductive equity and maternal health. That’s why I am proud to sponsor the legislation necessary to create a Reproductive Equity Fund in Jackson County,” said 1st District At-Large Legislator Jalen Anderson. “Once established, the fund will help Jackson County provide the support that so many women now need, while also helping to reduce the damage done to our community by the obliteration of Roe.”

“I have spent my life fighting to protect a woman’s freedom to choose if, when and how they want to become a parent or grow their families,” said 2nd District At-Large Legislator Crystal Williams. “I want to commend the County Executive for his continued leadership on reproductive health and for his willingness to fight to ensure that everyone has the freedom to control their own lives, bodies and futures.”

Other voices in the area aren’t so sure.

“Feels to me like he’s trying to make the abortion issue a county-wide topic when it’s now a state-by-state issue. It’s not a county issue,” said Pete Mundo the Morning Show Host of KCMO Talk Radio.

The Jackson County Republican Party Secretary Carolyn Caton released a statement about the plan stating: “Abortion is not a county issue, but Frank White and the Democrats are trying to make it one. Frank White has nothing to run on because he has a horrible record over the last few years so he is trying to make a nationwide democrat talking point into a county-wide talking point. This is a state issue and should be left at that. Frank White should have to answer on his record of crime and property assessment issues that are putting people out of their homes instead of trotting out the same tired old democrat talking points”.

Similarly, nearby, the City of Kansas City in June passed a resolution giving a $300 stipend to city employees who need to travel across state lines to Kansas to get an abortion.

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