Missouri Right to Life files brief showing why initiatives to put abortion
in the state constitution would protect abortion on demand
throughout pregnancy until the moment of birth

For Immediate Release: September 5, 2023

On September 1, Missouri Right to Life (“MRTL”) filed a friend-of-the-court brief showing why an initiative to put an abortion right in the state constitution would establish a regime of unrestricted abortion on demand throughout pregnancy until the moment of birth.

The brief was filed in a case challenging the Secretary of State’s Summary Statement for Initiative No. 2024-085. Such summary statements are designed to tell voters what an initiative is about. The Secretary’s Summary said the Initiative would, among other things, “allow for . . . unrestricted abortions, from conception to live birth.”

Dr. Anna Fitz-James challenged the Summary Statement in Cole County Circuit Court as erroneous. MRTL’s brief showed why “unrestricted” was an accurate description of what the Initiative would do.

In demonstrating why that statement is accurate, MRTL showed the court four key things. First, abortion case law distinguishes the terms “regulation” and “restriction,” with the latter being a prohibition. So the fact that the Initiative speaks of some minimal “regulation” does not authorize any “restriction” on abortion. The Initiative nowhere authorizes a restriction on abortion for any reason or at any time, such as the Supreme Court did in Roe v. Wade, which permitted state to prohibit abortion after the viability of the preborn child. So based on this fact alone the Initiative would allow unrestricted abortion.

Second, MRTL demonstrated from the history of abortion law after Roe v. Wade that abortion providers and advocates have always sought abortion on demand throughout pregnancy, which the U.S. Supreme Court often accommodated by striking down reasonable restrictions on abortion, until the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs case. Abortion providers and advocates are seeking unrestricted abortion through the current Initiative, because no meaningful regulation will be permitted.

Third, MRTL showed how the specific terms of the Initiative did not allow any restriction on abortion on demand throughout pregnancy. For example, the Initiative would require that after viability an abortion must be allowed if, in the sole discretion of the abortion provider, an abortion is necessary for the pregnant woman’s mental health. But Dr. Jane Hodgson, a famous abortion provider, said that, if a woman seeks an abortion, then the abortion is medically necessary. Accordingly, under the Initiative, abortion after viability is unrestricted.

Fourth, MRTL showed that the foregoing demonstrates the Secretary is correct that the Initiative would “allow for . . . unrestricted abortions, from conception to live birth.” Accordingly, that statement “accurately reflect[s] the legal and probable effects of the proposed initiative,” as required by Missouri Supreme Court case law.

James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, PC, and counsel for MRTL, says: “The history of abortion jurisprudence since Roe v. Wade shows that abortion is unrestricted if there is a mental-health exception. Since the Initiative provides a mental-health exception, in the sole discretion of the abortion provider, the Initiative would institute a regime of unrestricted abortion on demand throughout pregnancy until the moment of birth.”

Susan Klein, Executive Director of Missouri Right to Life, says: “As we have seen over the many years of Roe, unrestricted abortions have endangered the lives of women and taken the lives of unborn babies. When the abortion provider is given free rein on women with no restrictions or accountability, women will suffer the consequences and have no recourse if this attempt to enshrine abortion in our state constitution were to succeed. Secretary of State Ashcroft’s ballot language is a true depiction of unrestricted abortions for all nine months of pregnancy in these petitions and the people of Missouri have the right to know the truth.”

The brief is available at: https://www.bopplaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/MoRTL.ACBr-amicus-br-FINAL.pdf.


Your Voice Is Needed to Defend Life: A public comment period is open through the Office of Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft for each of these 6 pro-abortion Initiative Petitions (IPs) that have been filled by pro-abortion forces to enshrine a right to abortion in our Missouri Constitution.

Your pro-life comments are extremely important! The public comment period closes September 29, 2023. If this date changes based on the process, we will let you know. But, do not wait! Get your comments as soon as possible!

Please submit your pro-life comments on each of the Initiative Petitions (2024-129 through 2024-134) by September 29, 2023. Below is background and talking points:

Background: On Wednesday morning, August 30, 2023 a newly established 501c4 non-profit organization, established in June of 2023 called “Missouri Women and Family Research Fund,” filed 6 pro-abortion Initiative Petitions with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. This organization was formed by Jamie Corley, a pro-abortion Republican, based out of St. Louis and is represented by a known pro-abortion Democrat attorney that defends the majority of every Planned Parenthood lawsuit filed in Missouri.

These pro-abortion IP’s seek to enshrine a right to abortion up to the point of birth in the Missouri Constitution and do it under the disguise of misleading information. This ballot measure will be on the November 5, 2024 Statewide ballot.

Talking Points to Consider when Submitting Your Comments to the Missouri Secretary of State on Proposed Pro-Abortion Initiative Petitions (2024-129 through 2024-134):

  • Missouri has long been a state working to protect women and unborn babies by developing and funding programs such as Alternatives to Abortion and Show-Me Healthy Babies.
  • After a baby is born, Missouri cares for women with health insurance programs such as MoHealthNet and Show-Me Healthy Babies.
  • Missourians value life at every stage of development.
  • Missouri currently does not prosecute women for abortion and does not have plans to do so. Missouri has a strong history of supporting women and their unborn babies.
  • All innocent human life has intrinsic value and we oppose abortion at every stage of development from inception of biological development to after the baby is born through natural death.
  • As a Missourian we oppose IP # (enter no. from above) for the following reasons:
  • The petitions will allow for abortions to be performed up until the moment of birth and possibly beyond.
  • The petitions do not take into account the pain felt by the baby during an abortion.
  • The petitions do not take into account the complications for the woman that come from an abortion.
  • The petitions will deny any woman harmed by an abortionist her right to sue for malpractice to recover for her injuries.
  • The petitions nullify current Missouri laws that protect pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Please check our website frequently (www.missourilife.org) as we will be sharing information and updates. We would love to hear your comments, too!

You can email a copy of your comments to righttolife@missourilife.org

 Thank you for standing with us, For Life!

Update on the Court Proceedings of the
Pro-Abortion Initiative Petitions

Yesterday, Thursday, August 3, 2023, at 9:00 a.m., a counsel status hearing was held in the Cole County Circuit Court, the Honorable Judge Jon E. Beetem, presiding. The current 6 lawsuits filed by the pro-abortion petitioner challenge the SOS’s ballot summary language. It was mentioned during this morning’s hearing that a new lawsuit, this time challenging the fiscal note/fiscal summary, is expected to be filed by a yet unnamed litigant no later than Monday’s deadline for filing a challenge.

The petitioner’s attorney argued for consolidating all cases (the current 6 cases). Judge Beetem stated that he thinks the title summary language is different than the expected fiscal challenge as the fiscal challenge will be about evidence issues rather than language issues. Our understanding is that the Judge’s intent is to keep any fiscal challenges as separate case(s).

Judge Beetem set a trial date of September 11, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. for the 6 cases currently filed. Each party will submit their trial brief to the Judge by Friday, September 1st. The defendant (SOS’s) attorney requested an opportunity to respond to the brief and, therefore, the Judge set the date for optional response briefs for September 7th.

The 11 pro-abortion petitions have been approved for circulation if abortion supporters want to use the current truthful ballot language from the Secretary of State. However, pro-abortion supporters want language that is not true and they have filed suit against the Secretary of State to try and change the ballot language.

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