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A Missouri judge ruled Monday that Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s language for a proposed abortion amendment was “argumentative” and needed to be revised before being placed on the ballot, according to court documents.

The language proposed by Ashcroft would have asked voters to allow for “dangerous, unregulated, and unrestricted abortions” if they voted in favor of the amendment, according to the ruling. Pro-abortion advocates filed a petition on Sept. 11 against the language, arguing that it did not accurately represent the legislation, to which Cole County Judge Jon Beetem agreed.

“The Court finds that certain phrases included in the Secretary’s summary statement are problematic in that they are either argumentative or do not fairly describe the purposes or probable effect of the initiative,” Beetem wrote.

Beetem also included phrases such as “the right to life,” “unborn child,” “from conception until live birth” and “partial-birth abortion” as language that he took issue with, according to the opinion. He further argued that Ashcroft’s failure to mention reproductive health could be confusing for voters.

“The Court further finds that while the proposals will have the greatest immediate impact on abortion, the absence of any reference to reproductive health care beyond abortion is insufficient in that it would cause a voter to believe that abortion is the only health care comprising the initiatives,” Beetem wrote. “This is especially true because these proposals might share a ballot with other initiatives that are limited to abortion. Voters should be able to differentiate between them.”

The amendment was introduced by Jamie Corley, a former GOP operative, who felt that state law, which went into effect following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, was too strict and needed to provide exceptions for rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities and the health and safety of the mother. If passed, the amendment would remove the state’s current ban on abortion, which only allows the procedure in the case of a medical emergency, according to the Missouri Independent.

The approved language will, instead, ask voters if the state constitution should be revised to limit abortion after fetal viability, which is typically around 24 weeks, is detected provided that it allows exceptions to “protect the health and the life of the woman,” according to the ruling. Ohio is also considering an abortion amendment, which would allow abortion up until birth in some cases, and a court recently ruled in favor of allowing the term “unborn child” in the language despite protests from abortion activists.

Ashcroft’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.


Kate Anderson on September 25, 2023

Daily Caller News Foundation

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