USA Legal News: ACLU filed suit against Missouri Secretary of State over abortion legislation
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Ashcroft in (USA) Missouri state court, after Ashcroft rejected the ACLU’s petition to allow the people of Missouri to approve or veto the state’s recently passed abortion legislation in a public referendum.
Missouri’s Constitution provides citizens with a right to review newly enacted laws by referendum.
Secretary of State argued, however, that the bill contains an emergency provision that makes it ineligible for a referendum:
There are certain limits to the people’s right to a referendum. Specifically, Article III, Section 52(a) makes exceptions for “laws necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, and laws making appropriations for the current expenses of the state government, for the maintenance of state institutions and for the support of public schools.”
The ACLU’s law suit seek that the court provide a declaratory judgment stating that the bill is not subject to the emergency exception, or an injunction preventing the rejection of the referendum petition until its viability can be determined by the Missouri state courts.
Acting Executive Director Tony Rothert, of the ACLU of Missouri, stated that Ashcroft’s refusal to allow the referendum “proves that Missouri’s anti-abortion zealots understand that they’re acting against the wishes of the majority. They hope to short-circuit the people’s vote because they know they will lose if the people get their say.”