A Missouri appeals court has rejected the Secretary of State's extreme ballot summaries for a Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative Petition.
The LWVMO filed an amicus brief in the case saying, “It is difficult to imagine a summary statement more unfair, distorted, misleading, and argumentative.” The Secretary of State's language started by asking, “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow for dangerous, unregulated, and unrestricted abortions, from conception to live birth, without requiring a medical license or potentially being subject to medical malpractice.”
“Our goal is to have clear language so all voters understand what is actually in the proposed amendment,” says LWVMO President Marilyn McLeod. “That’s important for anyone considering signing the initiative petition and for all voters if it’s on the ballot in November 2024.”
McLeod says Ashcroft and Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey are both using delay tactics to keep initiative proponents from having sufficient time to gather the 171,000 valid signatures needed to place their proposed amendment on the ballot in November 2024. The petitions were filed in early March, but Bailey’s dispute of the Auditor’s fiscal note delayed certification for nearly 100 days. Judge Jon Beetem wrote a scathin opinion, suggesting more reasonable summaries.
“Politicians are trying to delay signature gathering in order to stop reproductive rights from being on the ballot,” says McLeod. “Polls show that most Missourians do not approve of the law that took effect in June 2022 banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Missouri voters have the right to use the ballot to change this.”
The League’s position since 1983 has been to “protect the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices.”
Click here for more on the LWVMO amicus brief.