The Latest: Critics of Missouri abortion law drop vote push
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on efforts to put new Missouri abortion restrictions to a public vote (all times local):
Critics of a new Missouri law that restricts abortions say they won't make a push to gather the signatures needed to put it to a public vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri's Development Director Nicole Rainey says it's impossible to collect the roughly 100,000 voter signatures needed in two weeks. That's when most of the new law takes effect.
The ACLU of Missouri filed a referendum petition in hopes that voters would overturn the law. It bans abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies but not for rape or incest.
Abortion-rights advocates had to wait for Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to certify the petition before collecting signatures. Ashcroft did so Wednesday, leaving the group with two weeks to get enough signatures to block the law pending a 2020 statewide vote.
Rainey says they're now shifting focus to register voters for the 2020 election.
Missouri election officials are defending how they handled a petition to put new abortion restrictions to a public vote.
Abortion-rights advocates have slammed Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft for dragging his feet.
But Ashcroft spokeswoman Maura Browning on Wednesday said the office met legal deadlines and certified the petition five days early.
Abortion-rights advocates are hoping voters will overturn the new law banning abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for medical emergencies. They say Ashcroft stalled in handling the petition, leaving them with only two weeks to collect enough signatures to block the law from taking effect Aug. 28.
But Browning says advocates could have significantly sped the process by filing the petition 11 days earlier, before Gov. Mike Parson signed it.