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Missouri Abortion Rights Supporters Launch Ballot Initiative for Signature Collection

Missourians for Constitutional Freedom has finalized the language for a proposed constitutional amendment on abortion rights. This announcement marks a significant step in their campaign to secure these rights in Missouri.

Coalition Formed for Abortion Rights Measure

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The group announced a coalition comprising various organizations. This includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, Abortion Action Missouri, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, and Advocates of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

Finalized Language of the Abortion Ballot Measure

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The finalized ballot measure language asserts that the government shall not deny or infringe upon a person’s fundamental right to reproductive freedom. This includes the provision of abortion care as a part of this fundamental right.

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Details of the Proposed Constitutional Amendment

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The amendment stipulates that reproductive freedom shall not be restricted unless justified by a compelling governmental interest. It also allows the General Assembly to regulate abortion post-fetal viability, with exceptions for the life and health of the mother.

Protection Against Punishment for Seeking Abortion

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The ballot language includes provisions to protect individuals seeking or aiding in an abortion from being punished. This is a key aspect of the proposed amendment, ensuring protection for those involved in the abortion process.

Statement from Dr. Iman Alsaden

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Dr. Iman Alsaden, an adviser to Missourians for Constitutional Freedom and chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Great Plains, criticized Missouri’s restrictive abortion ban. He emphasized the harm it causes to patients and healthcare providers.

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Dr. Alsaden’s Support for the Measure

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Dr. Alsaden expressed his pride in joining forces with other providers, advocates, and patients. He aims to end the harm caused by Missouri’s abortion ban and supports the right of patients to make their own medical decisions.

Missourians for Constitutional Freedom’s Strategy

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The group has filed 11 different petitions for various abortion measures. However, they have now solidified their focus on one particular measure for which they will be collecting signatures.

The Missouri Women and Family Research Fund’s Initiative

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A separate group, the Missouri Women and Family Research Fund, is also working to put an abortion measure on the ballot. Their proposal includes exceptions for rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities, or the risk or safety of the patient.

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Missouri’s Current Abortion Law

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Under Missouri law, abortions are only permitted in medical emergencies. Providing an abortion outside these parameters is classified as a class B felony in the state.

National Movement for Abortion Ballot Measures

Credit: Protesters gather for the Bans Off Our Bodies march in support of abortion rights on May 14, 2022 in Washington DC as Roe v. Wade is poised to be overturned by the Supreme Court — Photo by renaschild

The ripple effect of the success of abortion rights advocates in Ohio last November has had a significant impact on several other states. Florida, Arizona, and South Dakota are now looking to pass their own abortion ballot measures.

Context of the Abortion Rights Movement

Credit: Pro-choice activists rally to stop states’ abortion bans in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on May 21, 2019 — Photo by renaschild

The movement for abortion rights in Missouri and other states reflects a growing national trend. This comes amidst varying political climates and the evolving legal landscape surrounding reproductive rights in the United States.

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