Missouri Appeals Court issues decisions on challenges to abortion rights ballot issues

Published: Oct. 31, 2023 at 4:19 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says he will fight an Appeals Court decision over the wording of an abortion issue on the ballot.

The Western District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that a ballot summary included ‘dangerous’ and inaccurate information.

The months-long legal fight began after a St. Louis area doctor filed a set of petitions with the Secretary of State’s office to pose the question of abortion rights to Missouri voters.

A judge in a lower court ruled that the language written by Ashcroft, an opponent of abortion rights and a current candidate for governor, was unfairly biased against the issue.

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“Once again Missouri courts refused to allow the truth to be known. The Western District essentially approved the language that was entirely rewritten by Judge Beetem. Not only is the language misleading but it is categorically false,” Ashcroft said.

Ashcroft says he plans to appeal Monday’s decision and will continue to fight for the ballot language he supports.

“The circuit court’s opinion admits the real issue is about abortion. The Western District today continued to gloss over the issue in its affirmation. We stand by our language and believe it fairly and accurately reflects the scope and magnitude of each petition.”

A separate panel of judges also threw out a challenge to a fiscal summary of the ballot measures. It was prepared by Missouri State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick. The court ruled the estimated cost is accurate and would not cost billions as two Republican lawmakers argued.

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The two decisions come one day after the the appeals court heart oral arguments in Kansas City.

If Ashcroft follows through on his promise to continue the legal fight, the issue will end up in front of the Missouri Supreme Court.