Yesterday was the first day of bill filing (“prefiling”) for the 2020 Regular Session (100th General Assembly, 2nd Regular Session) of the Missouri General Assembly.
Today, a bill filed by a member of the Democratic Party super minority:
Establishes the “Respect Women’s Abortion Decisions Act”
Sponsor: Morgan, Judy (024)
Proposed Effective Date: 8/28/2020
LR Number: 3510H.01I
Last Action: 12/03/2019 – Prefiled (H)
Bill String: HB 1574
Next House Hearing: Hearing not scheduled
Calendar: Bill currently not on a House calendar
ST. LOUIS — Today, a U.S. District Court judge in the Western District of Missouri granted a preliminary injunction, blocking several provisions of Missouri’s sweeping abortion bans passed earlier this year. The blocked bans, which would have made abortion illegal starting at eight weeks, would have taken effect tomorrow. This lawsuit challenges a law that created an unprecedented number of bans at once, at nearly every stage of pregnancy, which is part of a multi-layered effort by state politicians to push abortion out of reach for 1.1 million Missourians of reproductive age. The provision the court allowed to take effect, at least at this preliminary stage, blocks patients from seeking an abortion based on race, gender, or Down syndrome diagnosis. Missouri is now one of eight states that force doctors to investigate why their patients are making a deeply personal medical decision. The court indicated openness to reviewing the issue again on a renewed motion.
In May, emboldened by the Trump administration, Gov. Mike Parson signed House Bill 126, which imposes a series of draconian abortion bans and medically unnecessary restrictions designed to make it impossible for patients to access abortion. Last month, Planned Parenthood, along with partners at the ACLU and law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, took the state of Missouri to court over the clearly unconstitutional abortion bans. With only one abortion provider left in the state, access is left hanging by a thread.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “Today’s decision blocks a harmful law that bans abortion before many know they’re pregnant. What little abortion access in Missouri is left will stay in place for the time being. In the meantime, we cannot ignore the part of this law that remains in place, which allows politicians to interfere with the patient-provider relationship. Let’s be very clear: these severe restrictions on abortion access do nothing to address disability rights or discrimination. They only stigmatize abortion and shame the people who seek that care. Planned Parenthood won’t cower to politicians. We will continue fighting in court and working with every person to ensure they get the health care they need and deserve.”
Statement from Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region: “Abortion access has once again been protected in Missouri by the courts, but only for some. Although the judge recognized the merits of our case, he has also allowed parts of the law to go into effect. While most people seeking abortion will thankfully still be able to do so, allowing the reason ban to take effect will have a measurable impact. It requires physicians to interrogate patients and, in turn, destroys the foundation of trust essential in a health care setting. Missourians do not need or want politicians in their exam rooms. My patients deserve access to high-quality abortion care, and they deserve the space to make those decisions based on their values, life circumstances, support system, and faith, free of government scrutiny. Although we are grateful today’s ruling allows us to provide care to some Missourians, we will continue to defend the truth: EVERY reason to have an abortion is a valid reason.”
Statement from Andrew Beck, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project: “Today’s decision affirms that abortion is still a constitutional right — and we will do everything possible to keep it that way. This fight isn’t over until everyone who needs an abortion in Missouri can get one.”
Statement from Tony Rothert, Legal Director, ACLU-Missouri: “House Bill 126 is an offensive intrusion into private medical decision-making that would have jeopardized the health and well-being of Missourians in need of abortion care. This law put politicians at the center of a deeply personal decision that belongs to a pregnant person and those they trust most: their family and health care providers — not the government. We applaud the decision of the court to uphold the Constitution and stop HB 126.”
Missouri is one of 12 states to pass an abortion ban just in the first half of this year. State politicians, emboldened by President Trump, have passed a total of 26 abortion bans nationwide in 2019 alone. With Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, anti-abortion politicians are racing to pass bills designed to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Anti-abortion politicians in Missouri have spent decades eroding reproductive health care. As a result, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region is the last remaining health center in the state that still provides abortion. Gov. Parson signed this sweeping abortion ban into law while weaponizing the state’s licensing process. Parson said his goal was to make Missouri the “most pro-life state in America.”
It is not new for politicians in Missouri or elsewhere to use a combination of state laws and regulatory harassment to target abortion providers — in fact, Missouri already used similar targeting to block the only other health center in the state that provided abortions from continuing to do so in 2018. Parson’s administration forced more than 100 patients to undergo medically unnecessary pelvic exams before abruptly rescinding the requirement. That’s on top of dozens of medically unnecessary restrictions that make abortion nearly impossible to access. These restrictions include a 72-hour mandatory delay for patients accessing abortion, which forces patients to make two trips to the health center, and demanding abortion providers hold local hospital admitting privileges. This, despite the fact that support for access to abortion in America is at an all-time high — and growing.
While the state is cutting off access to abortion, maternal and reproductive health in the state is in crisis. Maternal mortality rates in Missouri are more than 50 percent higher than the national average, and a syphilis outbreak is sweeping the state. The same politicians who claim to value “life” continue to sit idly by while public health outcomes worsen.
HB 126, brought to you by:
Governor Mike Parson (r) [2018 file photo].
Wire coathangers on the fence at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City – June 2, 2019.
“…You think they’re doing this to delay the gathering of signatures? Of course they are…”
Today the Missouri Supreme Court refused to intervene in the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals ruling that the Missouri ACLU’s initiative petition to reverse the anti-abortion HB 126 can move forward in the process.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (r) [2019 file photo].
Today, the Missouri Supreme Court let stand the Court of Appeals holding that Secretary of State Ashcroft acted outside his legal authority by rejecting the referendum petition on Missouri’s abortion ban. This recognition that Ashcroft acted illegally should prevent him from ever again abusing his office to derail the people’s right to challenge legislation by referendum.
Unfortunately, Ashcroft is continuing to obstruct the people’s vote by dragging his feet in his quest to deny the people a say on Missouri’s extreme 8-week abortion ban. If he acted promptly, supporters could begin to gather signatures by July 18 at the latest. But Ashcroft seems intent to slow the process so that supporters will not have enough time to collect enough signatures.
“It is no secret that Ashcroft’s agenda is banning abortion in Missouri,” says Anthony Rothert, interim Executive Director at the ACLU of Missouri. “While it is fantastic that the courts have made clear that he acted illegally, he may well succeed in preventing voters from getting their say on this important issue. Ashcroft’s tenure as Missouri’s chief election officer continues to be marked by efforts to prevent Missourians from voting.”
If Ashcroft had not illegally rejected the referendum petition, then he would have had to certify the petition for signature gathering by July 18. He will not meet that deadline, which in turn denies a meaningful opportunity to collect signatures, which must be submitted by August 28.
We reject the idea that Missourians can be denied the right to a referendum because of the unlawful action of an elected official determined to take away constitutional rights. The people kept for themselves the right of referendum to safeguard Missourians from an overzealous, out-of-touch government. No matter how they would vote on the referendum, every Missourian is harmed by Ashcroft’s abuse of this office to serve his radical anti-abortion agenda.
Our fight is not over. We continue to push Ashcroft to his job by certifying ballot language by July 18. Should he fail to do so, we will not let Missourians forget that he has taken the fate of the abortion ban away from the voters of Missouri.
Ironic isn’t it? Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (r) gets away with doing his job poorly. In Missouri republican circles that’s considered a feature, not a bug.
Let us be very clear. We are NOT cleared to gather signatures yet. Why? Secretary Ashcroft is obstructing the right to referendum.
The court ruled that Secretary Ashcroft acted illegally. He is now purposefully denying the right of the people to have a referendum.
The court is allowing Secretary Ashcroft to restart the clock and delay giving us ballot language until it could be too late to collect signatures.
That’s why we’ve appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court today.
Know this: If we are blocked from the ballot box because Secretary Ashcroft has run down the clock and given us, the people, no meaningful chance to gather 100,000 signatures by August 28th, we will continue to fight.
The ACLU will do whatever is necessary to make sure abortion remains legal in Missouri. The campaign will work to make sure reproductive rights are preserved across the state in any way it can.
The fight for reproductive rights does not rely on a single tool. We will see you in the streets, in the legislature, at the ballot box, and in the court room.
An entry today in the Missouri Court System Casenet after the Western District Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Missouri ACLU’s initiative petition to reverse the anti-abortion HB 126 can move forward in the process.
WD82880 – AMERICAN CIVIL LIB, APEL V JOHN ASHCROFT, RES
Mot for Rehearing/Tran to SC
motion and application; Electronic Filing Certificate of Service.
Filed By: ANTHONY EDWARD ROTHERT
On Behalf Of: AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF MISSOURI, SARA E BAKER
Mot for Rehearing/Tran to SC
Respondents Ashcroft and Schmitts Motion for Rehearing, En Banc Review, or Transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court; Electronic Filing Certificate of Service.
Filed By: DEAN JOHN SAUER
On Behalf Of: JOHN ROBERT ASHCROFT, ERIC SCHMITT
You think they’re doing this to delay the gathering of signatures? Of course they are…
The Missouri State Auditor’s Office today released a statement regarding action by the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals. An opinion, issued today, compels Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Attorney General Eric Schmitt to perform their duties under the law on a proposed referendum related to HB 126, which was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson on May 24. The State Auditor’s Office announced on June 7 that work on the fiscal note and fiscal note summary was moving forward.
“Even as this issue has been working through the courts, the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has continued our work to complete the fiscal note and fiscal note summary. As is clear in the opinion, the State Auditor’s Office fulfilled its obligation under the law. Auditor Galloway believes Missourians deserve to be heard.”
The Missouri ACLU’s initiative petition to reverse the anti-abortion HB 126 can move forward in the process.
“We will not go back”
Jay Ashcroft (r) [2017 file photo].
Today at the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals WD82880 [pdf]:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and Sara E. Baker (collectively “ACLU”) appeal a trial court judgment dismissing its verified petition with prejudice and denying pending motions in a proceeding where the ACLU sought a temporary restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, and declaratory relief from State officials after a referendum petition sample sheet was rejected. The Secretary of State exceeded his statutory authority by rejecting the sample sheet on constitutional grounds at a point when the Secretary of State’s authority was limited by section 116.332 to review of the sample sheet for sufficiency as to form.
1. The Secretary of State’s authority to review a referendum petition sample sheet for sufficiency as to form pursuant to section 116.332 does not extend to determining compliance with the constitution and is limited to determining substantial compliance with the form requirements set forth in section 116.030.
2. The Secretary of State was obligated to approve the ACLU’s sample sheet as sufficient as to form as no issues with compliance with section 116.030 were identified.
3. Though a writ of mandamus could have been sought to compel the Secretary of State to approve the ACLU’s sample sheet as sufficient as to form, permanent mandatory injunctive relief is also available to compel the Secretary of State to withdraw rejection of, and to approve, the sample sheet.
4. Rule 84.14 directs this court to give such judgment as the court ought to give. Judgment is entered compelling the Secretary of State to approve the ACLU’s sample sheet.
This morning in Jefferson City several hundred individuals showed up at the capitol building (in rainy weather) to protest the radical anti-choice policies and legislation of the republican controlled Missouri General Assembly and Governor Mike Parson (r) and his administration. The rally portion was scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m. on the south lawn, but rainy weather moved that portion of the event indoors under the dome.
“We aren’t ovary-acting”
Individuals with their signs started showing up under the dome after going through security shortly after 8:30 a.m.
“I am not your incubator”
The rally and subsequent march to the Governor’s Mansion was initiated by one grassroots individual via social media. The idea snowballed and a permit to demonstrate on the capitol grounds was secured.
“Queen of my own uterus, thank you very much”
The rally under the dome allowed time for individuals to gather, chant, and speak out before the short march to the Governor’s Mansion.
“Keep your rosaries off my ovaries”
“My body, my choice”
“My uterus has more regulations than your gun”
“If you cut off my reproductive choices can I cut off yours?”
“We will not go back”
“Keep your bans off my body”
“If I wanted government in my womb I’d fuck a senator”
Yesterday at the Missouri Ethics Commission from a very reliable past benefactor of the republican party on behalf of a PAC supporting a referendum to overturn the ant-abortion HB 126:
C190866 06/07/2019 Committee to Protect the Rights of Victims of Rape & Incest David Humphreys PO Box 4050 Joplin MO 64803 Tamko Holdings, Inc. Chairman and CEO 6/6/2019 $1,000,000.00
You read that right.
The PAC is brand new:
C190866: Committee To Protect The Rights Of Victims Of Rape & Incest
Committee Type: Campaign
Po Box 794
Jefferson City Mo 65102
Established Date: 05/30/2019
Ballot Measure History
Ballot Measures Election Date Subject Support/Oppose
Referendum Petition Re Hb 126 11/03/2020 Petition To Refer Hb 126, Which Enacts New Provisions Relating To Abortion, To The Voters For Their Approval Or Rejection. Support
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (r) says the referendum isn’t going to happen. David Humphreys just put $1,000,000.00 down on saying that it is. We’ll find out.
The Missouri Democratic Party State Committee upset a fringe anti-choice group this past weekend.
To recap, an anti-choice amendment was inserted into the party platform at the committee’s meeting early in July. From a member of the platform committee:
“…I served on the MO Dem platform cmte for several months. We drafted a pretty good platform…”
“…still disgusted with the MO Dem Party’s platform fail. Missouri needs more prolife Dems like we *need* another earthquake. We don’t. Dems who do not support access to abortion and the conservative voters they will allegedly attract are the shiny object that distracts from building a platform that appeals to the thousands of voters who stay home because Republicans are regressive bigoted fiends and Democrats are obsessed with appealing to moderately regressive bigoted anti-women fiends…”
There was also an uproar from the base (majority) of party members who contacted their state committee representatives. This past weekend the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee met to reconsider the motion (uh, that’s a parliamentary procedure – used to fix mistakes), with more members of the committee attending the meeting. They reconsidered the motion to approve the anti-choice amendment, removed it, apparently without dissent, and proceeded to approve the original party platform presented by the platform committee.
The representatives on the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee realized they got played and they fixed it. Democrats do that, they fix things.
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber – at campaign headquarters in Columbia, Missouri – August 7, 2018
And, of course, this upset a hack at “Democrats for Life”?:
There is an important election coming up that will determine the balance of the U.S. Senate and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. The election could also determine whether or not there will be impeachment efforts to rid the White House of Donald Trump. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is in a very close battle, and all Democrats would like to see her continue her tenure in the U.S. Senate.
Missouri Party Chairman Stephen Webber thinks that the best way to support Senator McCaskill and other Democrats in Missouri is to create an unnecessary battle over abortion.
A few weeks ago, there was a meeting to amend the Missouri Democratic Party platform. A vote took place, and the amendment was accepted. The Missouri Democratic Party then said that they welcome Whole Life Democrats in the party. The “conscience language” to include pro-life Democrats did not dilute the abortion-rights plank in the Democratic Party platform.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that the acceptance, along with the compromise language, lasted. Party Chairman Webber held a meeting this morning to strip the inclusive language from the platform because nothing says “We we want your vote” more than overturning a fair process of debate and approval. It is very unusual to remove language unilaterally after a platform has been ratified. It makes you wonder about the kind of pressure supposedly “progressive” groups exerted and why. They know that this removal will cause chaos.
They doth protest too much.
Now, just read that headline for accuracy.
Oh, it’s all just so rich:
“There is an important election coming up that will determine the balance of the U.S. Senate and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court…”
The writer of the press release at “Democrats for Life” actually wrote that. They also wrote this:
Democratic Senators Use Religion to Discredit Pro-Life Judicial Nominee
September 8, 2017
STATEMENT OF KRISTEN DAY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE OF AMERICA
Democrats For Life of America (DFLA) expresses its disappointment with Democratic senators and interest groups who are attacking federal court of appeals nominee Amy Barrett for her personal religious views on the dignity of human life at all stages….
Amy Barrett was also one of the right wingnuts who was reportedly on Donald Trump’s (r) short list for the current U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. The press release writer for “Democrats for Life” is definitely not worried about the U.S. Supreme Court the way the vast majority of Democrats are worried about the U.S. Supreme Court.
“…Missouri Party Chairman Stephen Webber thinks that the best way to support Senator McCaskill and other Democrats in Missouri is to create an unnecessary battle over abortion…” It’s called projection. Look it up.
The platform committee did not approve the language. A single anti-choice member of the Missouri Democratic Party State committee pushed an amendment to the party platform prepared by a platform committee using language appropriated from a lunatic fringe anti-choice group. We don’t know if the individual who pushed the amendment disclosed where that language came from when it was presented to the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee. We’re asking now. Was that disclosed at the time of the early July vote?
The Missouri Democratic Party State Committee did vote for the amendment in July (it wasn’t unanimous, that’s for sure) and it was very controversial. Everyone heard from everyone else the instant the word got out about the circumstances.
“…It makes you wonder about the kind of pressure supposedly ‘progressive’ groups exerted and why…”
Oh, that’s rich. It’s called holding those who are supposed to represent you accountable. The why is easy. Because their authored amendment, like their press release, is just so much bullshit.
Nothing says “we want your vote” more to the vast majority of Democrats in Missouri than when the Missouri Democratic Party State Committee realized they were played and had the awareness and gumption to quickly fix it. The Missouri Democratic Party State Committee voted on August 11th to restore the original language of the platform committee (overturning the anti-choice amendment) in approving the platform – with 61 of 68 members voting yes, two abstentions. That’s who “closed the door” on anti-choice fanatics.
And, just in case it slips anyone’s mind:
“…And, by the way, there already is an inclusive stance on abortion. It’s called ‘pro choice.'”