‘I believe it would pass;’ Renewed push to legalize abortion in Missouri after legislature fails to pass initiative petition reform

‘I believe it would pass’ A renewed push to legalize abortion in Missouri after legislature...
‘I believe it would pass’ A renewed push to legalize abortion in Missouri after legislature fails to pass initiative petition reform
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 10:39 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - After banning abortion in 2022, voters in the State of Missouri could have the ability to reverse course and legalize abortion in November 2024.

There is at least one ongoing effort that, if successful, would place the question on the ballot for next year’s presidential election.

After the State Senate failed to pass initiative petition reform last week, Speaker of the House Dean Plocher (R, Des Peres) said the Senate is to blame if it becomes legal yet again.

“I think the Senate should be held accountable for allowing abortion to return to Missouri,” said Plocher at an end-of-session GOP news conference on Friday.

The House passed a joint resolution that would have required a 57% threshold for initiative petitions to go into the Missouri Constitution.

So now, if abortion goes up for a vote in November 2024, it would only need 50% of Missourians to support it to pass.

People in St. Louis City and Jefferson County whom News 4 spoke with had mixed feelings.

“I think abortion should definitely be legal,” said Teneisha Perry.

“Babies in the womb are people, too,” said Lisa Foster.

Those two women show the split electorate that Missouri and most of the US face on the issue.

“Allow a woman to be able to choose what she would like to do with her body,” said Perry.

“I think it’ll be a very sad day if that was reversed,” said Foster.

But there is a holdup.

The ACLU recently put in a filing, asking the court to force Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to allow the petitions to be circulated.

The filing said Attorney General Andrew Bailey believes allowing abortion would cost the state $12 billion annually in lost state revenue, even going as far as saying it could be upwards of $51 billion. But State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick disagreed and believes it is closer to $50,000 annually.

So now that process is in court.

Across the Mississippi River in Illinois, they have abortion access, but they’re surrounded by states that do not. Therefore, those at Planned Parenthood of Illinois said they’ve seen an influx of patients coming to clinics to get abortion care.

Rianne Hawkins, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said before the Dobbs decision that put abortion access in the hands of the states, they had 5 to 6% of patients coming from out of state, now around 30% of patients are coming from outside of Illinois.

“This type of influx is not sustainable for us,” said Hawkins.

Back over in Missouri, if petitions get out and they get enough signatures, polling from November 2022 shows it would have a shot of passing, as 50% of likely voters said they disagreed with the overturning Roe vs. Wade, with 16% unsure.

There is one Republican lawmaker who believes the voters will approve.

“I believe it will pass,” said Plocher.