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The Latest: GOP donor weighs decision on abortion referendum

July 8, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on the American Civil Liberties Union seeking to force a public vote on a new Missouri law banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

Prominent Republican donor David Humphreys is weighing how proceed with his stalled effort to put the new Missouri law banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy to a public vote now that an appellate court has ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Humphreys’ attorney, Lowell Pearson, said Monday in an email that no decision had been made, shortly after a three-judge panel of the state’s Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the ACLU. The ACLU had sued after GOP Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft rejected petitions by it and Humphreys to put the law on the 2020 ballot. The court wrote in its 31-page ruling that Ashcroft was “without authority” to do so.

Humphreys has cited the lack of exceptions for rape and incest in his opposition to the policy.

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2:40 p.m.

An appellate court panel has ruled that the American Civil Liberties Union can soon begin collecting signatures that would put a new Missouri law banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy to a public vote.

A three-judge panel of the state’s Court of Appeals found Monday that GOP Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft erred in rejecting petitions to put the law on the 2020 ballot. The 31-page ruling Monday was issued just hours after the panel heard oral arguments in the case.

ACLU of Missouri acting executive director Tony Rothert had argued that time was of the essence. Most of the new law, including the eight-week abortion ban, takes effect Aug. 28. The ACLU needs to collect more than 100,000 signatures.

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11:45 a.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking an appellate court panel to let it begin collecting signatures that would put a new Missouri law banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy to a public vote.

The Missouri branch’s acting executive director, Tony Rothert, told a three-judge panel of the state’s Court of Appeals on Monday that it had been premature for GOP Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft to reject petitions by it and prominent Republican donor David Humphreys to put the law on the 2020 ballot. Rothert wants to begin the process of collecting the more than 100,000 required signatures by July 18.

He says the petition-gathering process needs to be completed before most of the new law, including the eight-week abortion ban, takes effect Aug. 28. The court didn’t immediately rule.

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