KANSAS CITY (PM) — An appellate court panel ordered Monday that the American Civil Liberties Union can soon start accumulating signatures that would place a new Missouri statute forbidding abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy to a public referendum.
A three-judge panel of the state’s Court of Appeals found that GOP Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft was “without authority” to refuse requests to put the law on the 2020 ballot on constitutional grounds. The 31-page ruling was published just moments after the panel heard oral arguments in the case.
Most of the new law, including the eight-week abortion ban, takes effect Aug. 28. The ACLU wants to accumulate more than 100,000 signatures. Rothert had contended that the signature-gathering should commence by July 18.
At the point is how the Republican-led Legislature decided to incorporate a section of the act that altered the law to force both parents agree to abortions for minors in most cases. Because legislators made it an “emergency clause,” it entered effect as quickly as Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed the measure into law.
Under Missouri law, there is no claim for a referendum when the code is addressing an emergency. The ACLU contended that parental permission isn’t an emergency, while the law stated it is “because of the need to protect the health and safety of women and their children, both unborn and born.”
The statutory debate over the abortion law appears as the state’s single abortion clinic encounters its court battle to continue administering the service, notwithstanding a licensing controversy with the state health department.