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Missouri election head rejects petition for vote on abortion

SeattlePI.com Tuesday, 11 June 2019
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's top election official on Tuesday rejected a third petition for a public vote on a new law banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's action came as opponents of the law are fighting in court to force the Republican to approve two similar petitions for a referendum that he rejected last week.

The ACLU of Missouri and wealthy Republican businessman David Humphreys filed the petitions to put the law on the 2020 ballot in hopes that voters will overturn it. The abortion ban includes an exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest.

Ashcroft cited a provision in the Missouri Constitution that prohibits referendums on "laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety" in his decision to reject the petitions.

A majority of the law, including the eight-week abortion ban, takes effect Aug. 28. But a provision that changed the rules on minors receiving abortions was enacted as soon as Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill in May .

The new law requires a parent or guardian giving written consent for a minor to get an abortion to first notify the other custodial parent, unless the other parent has been convicted of a violent or sexual crime, is subject to a protection order or is "habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition."

The law's "emergency clause" states that enacting the parental-consent portion is vital "because of the need to protect the health and safety of women and their children, both unborn and born."

In court filings, attorneys for the groups trying to repeal the law argued that enacting that provision is not an actual emergency.

Attorneys for both plaintiffs cited a statement by the bill's state Senate handler, GOP Sen....
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