courtesy of kffhealthnews.org
Missouri Activist Files Ballot Measures to Roll Back Abortion Ban
As activists examine the results of Ohio's vote to protect abortion rights, Jamie Corley in Missouri has already taken steps to put a similar measure in front of voters next year. Corley, a former Republican congressional staffer, has filed six potential ballot measures to reverse her state's near-total ban on abortion. The ban was triggered by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June 2022 to end federal protections for terminating pregnancies.
Wave of Abortion Ballot Measures Sweeping Across States
Missouri is just one of 11 states considering abortion-related ballot measures for next year. The groundwork for these campaigns has been in motion for months, with some efforts starting as early as 2021. Iowa has been working to pass a state constitutional amendment declaring no right to abortion, while Colorado has competing initiatives to enshrine abortion protections and ban abortion. The push to involve voters in the decision-making process aligns with the Supreme Court's message that "the people ought to figure this out," according to John Matsusaka, executive director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California.
Successes and Challenges of Ballot Measure Campaigns
The push to involve voters in the decision-making process aligns with the Supreme Court's message that "the people ought to figure this out," according to John Matsusaka, executive director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California.
The success of ballot measure campaigns for other issues, such as raising the minimum wage and legalizing marijuana, does not mean the petition process is easy. Collecting signatures is costly and often requires contracting with what some have called the "initiative industrial complex." In Missouri, it would cost more than $1.6 million to get an initiative on the ballot, not including the cost of running campaigns to persuade voters. However, the funding for these campaigns can be significant, with the recent Ohio campaign raising about $29 million to protect abortion rights.
Missouri Voters May Support Abortion Rights
Polling in Missouri suggests that voters statewide, including many Republicans, may back abortion rights in certain circumstances. Jamie Corley's proposed ballot measures, which provide exemptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and the health of the mother, aim to attract support from sympathetic Republicans. However, some groups, such as Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, have concerns about rebuilding a system that failed many people.
Despite the challenges, activists are determined to push ahead with their efforts to change abortion laws and provide protections against criminal prosecution. They believe that the urgency to pass something to change the abortion law in Missouri and other states cannot be emphasized enough.