JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Republican-led campaign to restore abortion rights in Missouri ended Thursday, clearing the way for a competing, broader constitutional amendment to be placed on the state’s November ballot.
“We started this group to restore access to education for women. health care“Missouri Research Fund for Women and Families Executive Director Jamie Corley said in a statement. “No one wants that, which is why we have decided to suspend our campaign to change Missouri’s abortion law.”
Corley’s withdrawal means that a rival campaign backed by Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups can move forward without competition. The Missourians for Constitutional Freedom ballot initiative would enshrine abortion in the state constitution and allow lawmakers to regulate it after it becomes viable.
Both groups attempted to address voters directly after a law passed by Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature that banned nearly all abortions went into effect in 2022. Now only abortions in cases of “medical emergencies” are legal in Missouri.
Corley presented his initiative petition as a moderate alternative. Under her proposal, abortions for any reason would have been allowed up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions in cases of rape, incest and fatal fetal anomalies would be allowed until viability.
Corley said his proposal had the best chance of passing in Missouri, where all elected state officials are Republicans and anti-abortion groups have enormous influence in state politics.
Missourians for Constitutional Freedom has not responded to an emailed request for comment from the Associated Press. Earlier this week, the campaign began collecting signatures with events across the state.
The campaign needs to collect at least 172,000 voter signatures by May 5 to be on the November ballot.