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ACLU sues state leaders over abortion law

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is demanding that HB126, aka the “heartbeat bill,” be put to a statewide vote.

{“url”:”″,”author_name”:”ACLU of Missouri”,”author_url”:””,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”&#gt;Denying the people their constitutional right to referendum is a sad and cynical ploy, but it is not surprising given that HB126’s entire purpose is to elevate the legislature above constitutional rights. We will see SoS Ashcroft in court. &#lt;a href=”″&#gt;;/a&#gt; &#lt;a href=””&#gt;;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;– ACLU of Missouri (@aclu_mo) &#lt;a href=””&#gt;June 7, 2019&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;n&#lt;script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:””,”version”:”1.0″}

The organization filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court on Thursday, after Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft quashed two referendum petitions that would have seen the controversial abortion ban placed on the 2020 ballot.

The ACLU’s lawsuit names Ashcroft, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and State Auditor Nicole Galloway as defendants, and demands the court rule Ashcroft’s rejections of the petitions as unconstitutional.

Galloway’s office released the following statement:

“Auditor Galloway has consistently expressed a deep concern about efforts to stifle the voice of the people on ballot initiatives. She disagrees with this latest attempt to limit the power of Missourians to have their voices heard. Auditor Galloway is fighting to uphold citizens’ constitutional rights to hold Jefferson City accountable through the referendum process.”

The lawsuit also seeks to invalidate Ashcroft’s claim that the emergency clause contained within one section of HB126 excludes the entire bill from being subject to a referendum.

“No part of HB126 can be properly declared an emergency measure,” the lawsuit said. “Whether an act passed by the legislature is in fact an emergency measure is a judicial determination.”

The ACLU’s lawsuit also suggests that the sole purpose in introducing the emergency clause into one section of HB126 was in anticipation of a potential call for referendum. It cites an interview between St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and state Sen. Andrew Koenig.

“What we did in the bill is actually preempt that type of situation by putting an emergency clause in there,” Koenig said in the interview with Rosenbaum. “So there can’t be a referendum.”

The case was assigned to Judge Daniel Green and a motion hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

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