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Missouri voters could restore abortion rights in 2024

by The Grio

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri voters could decide on whether to restore abortion rights in the state if constitutional amendments made public Thursday make it to the 2024 ballot.

The proposals would amend Missouri’s Constitution to protect abortion rights and pregnant women, as well as access to birth control.

Currently, most abortions are outlawed in the state. There are exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for cases of rape or incest.

The Missouri proposals are backed by a new group called Missourians for Constitutional Freedom, which has hired at least one Missouri Democratic strategist. The group and its treasurer did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature crafted a law, signed by Republican Gov. Mike Parson in 2019, to ban most abortions, in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The law took effect last year, following the court’s decision to end constitutional protections for abortion.

Several coalitions of lawmakers, including a top Republican donor, tried to put the law to a public vote in 2019. But Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, widely considered a top candidate for Missouri governor in 2024, initially rejected the petitions until a court forced him to approve them.

Advocates ultimately gave up on efforts to put the law to a public vote, accusing Ashcroft of dragging his feet in handling the proposals and leaving them with the impossible task of collecting the roughly 100,000 voter signatures needed in just two weeks.

Ashcroft also will play a role in the fate of Missouri’s pending constitutional amendments. His office is in charge of writing summaries of the proposals, which are used as voter guides.

Once Ashcroft and other elected officials finish the summary and a fiscal analysis, advocates can start collecting the voter signatures required to get the proposal…

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