This spring, Missouri lawmakers passed an eight-week ban on abortion by a significant margin. In May, Gov. Mike Parson signed it into law.
Already, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is attempting to reverse the ban via a referendum.
The ACLU has had to go to great lengths, including making an appeal to a federal court and taking a literal interpretation of the referendum process. The organization’s efforts, while legal, demonstrate just how powerful it remains and how it disregards Missourians’ choices—to say nothing of the rights of the unborn.
On July 8, a Missouri appellate court panel ruled the ACLU can soon begin collecting the 100,000 signatures it needs to pause the implementation of the law—which is set to go into effect on Aug. 28—and hold a referendum that would put the eight-week abortion ban to a public vote in 2020. However, the go-ahead was received with some difficulty.
Per state law, the organization had to receive permission from Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to go forward with the first stage of their referendum. The ACLU sent the referendum petition sample sheet to him to be approved, which he rejected on constitutional grounds, because the abortion law has an emergency provision in it. Missouri law states that if the law is addressing an emergency, there can’t be a referendum about it.
What’s the emergency? Missouri’s Republican-led legislature cares about mothers and unborn babies; thus, they specifically revised the bill to include a provision that would require both parents of a minor to consent to abortions in most cases. The Republican lawmakers classified this section as an emergency clause “because of the need to protect the health and safety of women and their children, both unborn and born.” Because it was classified as such, this particular section took effect as soon the governor signed it.
Unwilling to give up, the ACLU appealed to the federal court of appeals and argued, among other things, that parental consent isn’t actually an emergency. Amazingly, the judicial panel that heard the case—made up of three Democrat appointees—said that the secretary of state didn’t have the authority to reject the petition sheet on constitutional grounds. Ashcroft was forced to approve it.
(As an aside: The next time someone tells me not to vote for a certain Republican president because Supreme Court, or federal court, justices don’t matter, I will refer them to this, among many other cases.)
Let me be clear: It’s perfectly legal to instigate a referendum as a means of changing the law. It is, in fact, in the state constitution to protect “the people” from being subjected to laws they believe are unfair or unjust. However, save for the fact that one prominent Republican donor has voiced his desire for a rape and incest exception to be included in the law, I see no other evidence that Missouri’s abortion law falls under the category of unfair or unjust. Even the latter complaint is hardly enough for a statewide vote. That’s something that should have been lobbied to Republican lawmakers beforehand (and perhaps it was).
Of course, this particular effort isn’t the first time the ACLU has inserted itself in abortion bans that have already passed. In early July, a federal judge temporarily blocked Ohio’s heartbeat law, because of an ACLU and Planned Parenthood lawsuit. At the end of June, a court in Indiana blocked a law that would have banned the standard method for second-trimester abortion, due to yet another ACLU lawsuit.
The real reasons for the ACLU to break its metaphorical back trying to procure this vote for the people in Missouri, in hopes they will overturn it, seem to be: 1) The ACLU holds abortion as sacrosanct as Planned Parenthood. 2) Speaking of that, Missouri’s last abortion clinic remains open, but is only hanging on by a thread, due to its “numerous violations.” So, the ACLU is determined to keep abortion legal. And 3) the ACLU believes its pro-choice goals should usurp the state and the people.
Ironically, when it comes to usurping the will of Missourians, the ACLU seems to be more misguided than ever. Republican lawmakers in Missouri didn’t craft this bill lightly, nor did they do it to create controversy. To their credit, when they worked to pass the law, they approached it with a specific strategy.
Vox reported that language about a fetal heartbeat was ultimately removed from the final version of the bill, specifically because they didn’t want to force a Supreme Court challenge. Rather, as state Rep. Nick Schroer, the sponsor of the bill, told Vox, the bill should be “withstanding judicial challenges, not causing them.”
The Vox article continued: “While other lawmakers set their sights on overturning Roe v. Wade, Schroer’s goal was to craft a law that would successfully restrict abortion in his state, no matter what happens to Roe. The strategy might work.”
Not only did Republican lawmakers take great care in drafting this bill before it became law, but it reflects the constituents in Missouri. Yet, the ACLU, in all its entitled charade of pro-choice legal prowess, believes it alone is correct: The voice of the people who voted for the lawmakers who passed the abortion ban don’t matter—only the ACLU’s opinion does.
The ACLU’s efforts to overturn this ban seem to have happened with a significant amount legal maneuvering, luck—thanks to Democrat judges—and an unprecedented disdain for the rights of the people in Missouri—including the unborn.
Nicole Russell is a freelance writer and mother of four. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Politico, The Daily Beast, and The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @russell_nm.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.