Abortion rights advocates land on ballot measure to collect signatures on in Missouri

A group looking to put an abortion rights measure on the ballot in Missouri finalized language it would use for their proposed constitutional amendment, and announced the coalition of groups it would be partnering with. 

Missourians for Constitutional Freedom announced Wednesday that the group compromised of a coalition of groups including the ACLU of Missouri, Abortion Action Missouri, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes and Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri to put an abortion measure on the ballot. 

The group also finalized the language of the abortion ballot measure, which says that “the Government shall not deny or infringe upon a person’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” which the language notes includes abortion care. 

The proposed constitutional amendment also says “the right to reproductive freedom shall not be denied, interfered with, delayed, or otherwise restricted unless the Government demonstrates that such action is justified by a compelling governmental interest achieved by the least restrictive means,” and that the general assembly can regulate abortion access after fetal viability with exceptions for the life and health of the mother.  

The ballot language also bars those seeking or aiding someone seeking an abortion from being punished.  

“Politicians in Jefferson City are endangering the lives and wellbeing of the patients I care for, plain and simple. Missouri’s cruel and restrictive ban on abortion is tying the hands of doctors and preventing necessary care. Today, Missourians are taking a critical step to make their own medical decisions and kick politicians out of the exam room.” Dr. Iman Alsaden, advisor to Missourians for Constitutional Freedom and Planned Parenthood Great Plains chief medical officer, said in a statement. 

“I have always trusted all patients to make decisions that are best for their unique situations and lives. As a Missourian, I’m proud to join with other providers, advocates, and patients to end the harm caused by Missouri’s abortion ban,” Alsaden added. 

Missourians for Constitutional Freedom filed 11 different petitions for different abortion measures to put in front of voters this fall, but the announcement from the group underscores that it’s solidified one measure it will be collecting signatures around.  

A separate group, the Missouri Women and Family Research Fund, is pushing to put their own abortion measure on the ballot in the Show-Me State, which would include exceptions for rape, incest and fatal fetal abnormalities or risk or safety of the patient, though some of the petitions put forward offer certain timelines under where abortion access be protected. 

Missouri law says that abortions can’t be performed except in a medical emergency, and that someone who provides an abortion would be guilty of a class B felony in the state.  

Multiple other states, including in Florida, Arizona and South Dakota, are looking to pass their own abortion ballot measures — coming months after abortion rights advocates in Ohio were able to successfully pass one of their own last November despite the state’s increasingly red political leanings.  

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