A protester holds a sign reading "My Uterus My Right"

A protester holds a sign reading "My Uterus My Right" outside a Planned Parenthood clinic after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in St. Louis, Missouri on June 24, 2022.

(Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Missouri Coalition Delivers Signatures to Get Abortion Rights on November Ballot

"This milestone for the Missourians for Constitutional Freedom campaign means that voters are one step closer to being able to use the ballot measure process to secure their rights."

Missouri currently has one of the strictest abortion bans in the United States, but a coalition behind a potential ballot measure is hoping to change that—and on Friday, it made major progress toward expanding reproductive freedom in the state.

Ahead of a Sunday deadline, Missourians for Constitutional Freedom submitted 380,159 signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State's office, which must now certify them. The signatures were collected in just three months and are over double the number needed to get the proposed amendment on the November ballot.

"Today, we turned in boxes filled with hopes and dreams of bodily autonomy," declared Tori Schafer, an ACLU attorney and coalition spokesperson, in a statement. "Our message is simple and clear: We want to make decisions about our bodies free from political interference."

A so-called "trigger law" that took effect after the U.S. Supreme Court reversedRoe v. Wade two years ago prohibits abortion care in Missouri unless the health or life of the pregnant person is at risk. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, and doctors who violate the ban could face up to 15 years behind bars.

The proposed amendment would broadly safeguard reproductive freedom in the state, protecting not only abortion care before fetal viability but also birth control, respectful birthing conditions, and miscarriage, prenatal, and postpartum care.

"Hundreds of thousands of Missourians are now having conversations about abortion and reproductive freedom; some are sharing their own abortion stories for the very first time; and all are ready to do whatever it takes to win at the ballot box this year," said Mallory Schwarz, executive director of Abortion Action Missouri and another coalition spokesperson. "Together, we are going to end Missouri's abortion ban."

Dr. Iman Alsaden, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood Great Plains and adviser to the coalition, called Friday "a monumental day for Missouri and for my patients."

"The success of this campaign sends a clear message: Missourians trust patients to make the healthcare decisions that are best for their health and well-being," Alsaden said. "Anti-abortion politicians take note: My patients' lives are not yours to control."

Missouri is one of several states—including Arizona, Florida, and Montana—where supporters of reproductive freedom are working to pass abortion rights ballot initiatives this cycle. As the divided Congress has failed to codify Roe since the Supreme Court's 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, ballot measures have been an increasingly popular strategy.

Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, which has backed various abortion rights ballot initiatives across the country over the past few years, welcomed the successful signature collection campaign in Missouri on Friday.

"Missourians today are living under an extremely cruel abortion ban, enacted by politicians who are profoundly out of touch with their voters," Hall said. "Missourians deserve better—they should be able to make their own healthcare decisions without government interference."

"This milestone for the Missourians for Constitutional Freedom campaign means that voters are one step closer to being able to use the ballot measure process to secure their rights this November," she added, "and we are excited to be standing with them in that fight."

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