Missouri Supreme Court Allows Petition to Legalize Abortion to Move Forward

July 21, 2023

The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday ordered state Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) to stand down and allow an initiative petition to legalize abortion in the state to move forward.

Missouri’s highest court affirmed a lower court decision that Bailey must approve the cost estimate provided by the auditor, despite Bailey’s having insisted that the cost to taxpayers to restore abortion rights could be as much as a million times higher than what the auditor found.

Since Bailey would not approve the cost estimate by Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick (R), the state’s Secretary of State could not approve the amendment needed for supporters of abortion rights to begin gathering signatures to put the initiative on the ballot in 2024.

The Missouri Supreme Court’s order noted that Bailey’s foot-dragging had already cost plaintiff Anna Fitz-James, who’s represented by the ACLU of Missouri, 100 days that she could have spent collecting signatures. 

The proposed amendment would enshrine in the Missouri constitution the right of individuals to make their own decisions about abortion, childbirth and birth control. 

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June 2022, Missouri has become one of at least eight U.S. states that have passed so-called “heartbeat bills,” banning abortion after six weeks, including Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas.

PHOTO: Missouri State Capitol

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