Cost of Missouri abortion-rights petition challenged in court again

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion activists on Monday filed a court challenge against an initiative petition to legalize abortion.

In the lawsuit, Rep. Hannah Kelly, Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman and activist Kathy Forck argued that the cost estimate that will be provided to voters considering whether to adopt the constitutional amendment is too low.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs wrote in a court brief that the price tag should account for a potential loss of Medicaid funding, as well as the projected number of fewer people born because of abortions and subsequent lost tax revenue.

“These future losses to Missouri from loss of population due to abortion are both absolutely certain (fewer citizens definitely means fewer future taxpayers and laborers) and potentially generational and infinite,” the lawsuit argues.

The Missouri Supreme Court last month sided with the abortion-rights campaign in a lawsuit over a similar dispute about the petition’s cost. ACLU of Missouri lawyers represented supporters of the initiative petition in the previous lawsuit.

“This is another attempt by power-obsessed politicians to prevent Missourians from voting on reproductive rights,” American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri spokesman Tom Bastian said in an email. “The bogus lawsuit parrots the already court-rejected claims of the Attorney General.”

The proposed amendment would enshrine in the constitution the individual right to make decisions about abortion, childbirth and birth control.

Abortion-rights supporters proposed the amendment after the state banned nearly all abortions when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision last summer. The state now allows exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for cases of rape or incest.

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