Abortion Supporters Sue Ashcroft Over Failed Referendum

On Thursday, the ACLU and abortion advocacy group "No Bans on Choice" brought suit in Cole County against Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft for allegedly denying the groups the opportunity to place HB 126 to a public vote. The groups had sought to place HB 126, also known as the "Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act," on the 2020 ballot for a referendum vote, but abandoned that effort when it appeared they would not have enough time to collect the roughly 100,000 signatures needed. The plaintiffs claim that Ashcroft's office delayed its processing of the referendum petition, although the Secretary of State's office has pointed out that it processed the petition ahead of the allowed deadline. 

The plaintiffs are asking the court to rule that signatures can be collected earlier in the referendum process. It is important to note that this lawsuit will have no effect on HB 126 becoming law. Many provisions of HB 126 will still go into effect on August 28. However, the provisions regulating abortions at eight, 14, 18, and 20 weeks, and those prohibiting abortions based solely on race or sex of the unborn child or on the basis of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, could be blocked from going into effect, depending on the outcome of a federal lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood. That case is set to be heard on August 26.

August 23, 2019 - 10:54am

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