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The ballot initiative carpetbaggers are coming, with deceptively titled petitions they hope we’ll be dopey enough to vote on. Californian Ward Connerly is trying to sell us the “Missouri Civil Rights” petition aimed at banning affirmative action. The petition nowhere said that banning affirmative action was its aim, though. Instead, it claimed it would “ban discrimination based on race or gender.” There’s a beaut of a misrepresentation.

But for sheer audacity in lying, the “Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortion Act”, rivals it. This ballot initiative, brought to us by the Illinois-based Elliot Institute, king of anti-abortion junk science, would effectively outlaw abortion.

Don’t you just love that title: “Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortion Act”. Ladies, how many of you have been coerced into having abortions? And speaking of “unsafe”, let me remind you that “one in three American women will have an abortion at some point in their reproductive lives.” Don’t for a minute think that if abortion is outlawed, all those women will shrug their shoulders and buy a layette. Many of them will have truly “unsafe” abortions.

What’s unsafe is banning all abortions. South Dakota, here we come.

Or not. Maybe it won’t get to the signature gathering phase. It’s currently tied up in court by a lawsuit financed by Planned Parenthood. PP contends that the proposed ballot measure is unconstitutional on its face because Roe v. Wade guarantees a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.  

The initiative would ban abortion, without provision for rape or incest, in all cases except where the mother will die otherwise or suffer organ failure. Even in the case where the mother faces imminent death, she must undergo an extensive evaluation by a licensed psychologist, social worker or registered nurse, who will then write a report about the findings. Furthermore, the pregnant woman must be told about “risk factors” (enter junk science). After all these requirements are met, the physician must still wait 48 hours, regardless of the possible impact on her health, so that she can reflect on what she’s about to do.

The “risk factors” such women–who might be on their death beds–would hear about are hokum, factors such as the claim that abortion and breast cancer are linked. Reliable scientific studies disprove that claim. But the people at the Elliot Institute point to articles in respected peer reviewed journals, articles that support the claim.

Um-hmm. The articles, filled with ersatz science, are indeed printed in respected journals. That’s because such journals take a few articles on controversial topics, knowing that the peer review process will reveal them to be full of holes. It’s a process of separating the wheat from the chaff. The Elliot Institute lies, in effect, when it pretends its claims are wheat, not chaff.

Maybe Missouri won’t have to face these liars on the ballot this year, though. The pending lawsuit might finish quickly and be decided in Planned Parenthood’s favor. Or if the court rules against PP, perhaps it will take time to do so. Delay is good, making gathering 90,000 signatures more difficult. One concern about the trial, however, is that our Missouri court may feel bound to follow the lead of the Roberts court. That would be bad news because the Roberts court has quietly undertaken a “profound restructuring of constitutional law”, according to Pamela Sumners, executive director of NARAL in Missouri.

The Roberts court has declined to rule on issues that look to be unconstitutional on their face, instead requiring citizens to wait until such laws have gone into effect and then to prove that they do harm in a way the constitution forbids.

It used to be that citizens could challenge a law before it went into effect. They could look at a statute and say that this can’t possibly be constitutional–before it was ever put into effect. If the court agreed, it could enjoin bad acts before they could occur and do damage. With the precedent the Roberts court has set, our court may feel legally bound to rule that this ballot initiative should go forward and that only if it becomes law can anyone challenge it.

Just in case the Missouri court rules, however, that the petition is unconstitutional on its face, a second petition has now been submitted. And although this one, Stop Forced Abortions Alliance, supposedly does not come from the Elliot Institute, the same two people are named as contact people on both petitions. This second one is even more deceptive in that it claims (as if!) not to be a ban on abortions–you know, just in case the court rules that banning abortions is unconstitutional.

Of course, either or both of those initiatives might well fail at the polls anyway. In fact, Michelle Trupiano of Planned Parenthood, doesn’t think their chances of success are great. They would be on the ballot to bring out true believers to vote against Democrats.

These initiatives are a case of people from out of state monkeying around in Missouri’s election. Isn’t there some way to keep these carpetbaggers out?