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Court Rules ACLU Effort To Put Abortion Ban To Vote Can Proceed

American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri

An appellate court panel has given the go-ahead for the American Civil Liberties Union to start collecting signatures to put the 8-week abortion ban up for a public vote.

The court ruled Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft exceeded his authority in denying the ACLU’s petition to collect signatures as part of the referendum process.

Ashcroft rejected the petitions because the bill contained an “emergency clause,” and under Missouri law, there is no right for a referendum when a law is addressing an emergency. But the court says Ashcroft only had the authority to see if the petition forms were filled out correctly, and not whether they conformed to the Missouri constitution.

The court said it didn’t have the authority to grant the ACLU request to set a deadline of July 18 for Ashcroft and Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt to process the petitions.

The actual ban on abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy takes effect August 28.

Sebastián Martínez Valdivia was a health reporter at KBIA and is documentary filmmaker who focuses on access to care in rural and immigrant communities. A native Spanish speaker and lifelong Missouri resident, Sebastián is interested in the often overlooked and under-covered world of immigrant life in the rural midwest. He has a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri and a master's degree in documentary journalism at the same institution. Aside from public health, his other interests include conservation, climate change and ecology.