A Missouri judge just struck a mighty blow against Republican efforts to kill abortion amendments before they get off the ground. He also had some harsh words for the man who wants to run the Show Me state. Here is the full story.
Like several other states, abortion rights advocates in Missouri are attempting to bring proposed constitutional amendments before voters.
And also, as in other states, Republican lawmakers in Missouri are doing everything they can to keep that from happening.
But in late September, a circuit judge delivered a legal backhand across the jaw of those same Republicans, who had crafted some slanted language to try and persuade voters to their point of view.
A Cheap Transparent Plot
In a ballot summary set to go before voters in November, Republicans were all set to ask voters if they wanted to consider constitutional amendments in support of “dangerous and unregulated abortions until live birth.”
That bit of language was crafted by the office of Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican who just so happens to be running for governor in 2024.
It was all a cheap and transparent plot to sway voters on the issue by toying with their emotions, says Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem.
In his ruling issued on September 25, Beetem rewrote the ballot language completely and gutted Ashcroft’s original message.
Ruling Against Pro-Lifers
In Beetem’s version, he asks voters if they supported amendments that would grant the “right to make decisions about reproductive health care, including abortion and contraception.”
Beetem also ruled against pro-lifers who said that the creators of the proposed amendments had underestimated the cost of reinstating abortion in Missouri.
According to those abortion opponents, the state and counties would suffer monetarily because of lower birth rates caused by women having abortions. That would drag down the tax base over time, they claimed.
A Lack of Credible Evidence
But Beetem said those pro-lifers failed to provide any sort of credible evidence that allowing abortions would constitute a financial hardship for the state.
Anthony Rothert of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri applauded Beetem’s decision, saying the judge cut through the nonsense and called out Ahscroft for his pandering to far-right special interest groups.
Ashcroft’s office, meanwhile, plans to appeal the judge’s decision and his rewriting of the ballot summary.
A Bloody Political Battle
According to a spokesperson for the Secretary of State, they intend to fight what they call an attempt to “hide” the full effects the amendment would have if it passed.
Missouri is one of several states in the throes of debates over possible constitutional amendments in support of abortion in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.
Ohio is a trailblazer in this regard, as voters in the Buckeye state will decide on a proposed amendment at the polls later this fall.
Whether Missouri follows in their footsteps is up in the air and probably won’t be known for sure until the bloody political battle runs its full course.
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