Posted by on November 21, 2023 6:40 pm
Categories: News Washington Examiner

Missouri Supreme Court rejects hearing on wording for abortion ballot initiative

FILE – Missouri’s Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft speaks, Nov. 7, 2017, in Valley Park, Mo. The Missouri Supreme Court on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023 let stand a ruling by lower courts against Republican-written summaries of abortion-rights ballot measures that described several proposed amendments as allowing “dangerous and unregulated abortions until live birth.” (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) Jeff Roberson/AP

Missouri Supreme Court rejects hearing on wording for abortion ballot initiative

Breccan F. Thies November 21, 06:00 PM November 21, 06:00 PM Video Embed

The Missouri Supreme Court rejected hearing an appeal of Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s summary for a prospective ballot initiative attempting to enshrine abortion into the state constitution.

The Monday evening decision came after Ashcroft appealed a lower court decision finding his wording “replete with politically partisan language” in October.


Several proposals for an American Civil Liberties Union-backed pro-abortion rights ballot initiative were submitted for consideration with 11 different options for wording the proposed constitutional amendments. Ashcroft was charged with writing summaries to appear on the ballot.

Some of the proposals would make abortion legal up to 24 weeks, while others state “fetal viability” as the standard.

One version of these ballot initiatives is expected to show up on the 2024 ballot if abortion activists can obtain at least 170,000 signatures from registered voters by May.

The proposals would “nullify longstanding Missouri law protecting the right to life, including but not limited to partial-birth abortion,” Ashcroft wrote in the summaries, adding that they would “allow for dangerous, unregulated, and unrestricted abortions.”

Despite the appeals court ruling that Ashcroft’s language was “politically partisan,” as well as stating that “‘right to life’ is simply not an impartial term,” versions of the proposal submitted by abortion-supporting pediatrician Anna Fitz-James call pregnant women a gender-neutral alternative, “pregnant person,” and refers to abortion as a “fundamental right to reproductive freedom.”

Ashcroft reacted to the state’s high court ruling Tuesday, defending the language he used and vowing to continue to message the issue that way.

“We stand by our language — it fairly and accurately reflects the scope and magnitude of each petition,” Ashcroft said. “My responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure the people of Missouri have ballot language that they can understand and trust. If these petitions make it to the ballot, the people will decide. I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure Missourians know the truth.”


Aside from Fitz-James and the ACLU’s initiative, another group started collecting signatures for another petition that would legalize abortion in Missouri before 12 weeks.

Abortion is currently illegal in Missouri, except for in cases where the mother’s life is at risk or there is “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

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