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Jackson County may let voters weigh in on Missouri abortion law in November

Legislation introduce for Nov. 8 election
Abortion–South Carolina
Posted at 4:43 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 23:27:31-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Residents in Jackson County could get the chance to weigh in on Missouri's abortion law in November.

Two Jackson County legislators introduced an ordinance Monday to add a question on the Nov. 8 ballot.

After the Supreme Court of the U.S. eliminated federal abortion protections in June, all abortions in Missouri are illegal with limited exceptions in the case of medical emergencies. It is illegal in Missouri to abort a pregnancy resulting from incest or rape.

According to the ordinance, the proposed ballot question would ask voters: "Should section 188.017 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, which bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy without exception for rape or incest, be repealed to ensure safe and legal access to abortion."

The full Jackson County Legislature would need to sign off on the ordinance before it could go into effect.

But even if the question did make it on the ballot and voters passed it, it would have no effect on the legality of abortions in the state or the county, according to one legal expert.

Allen Rostron, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said abortion would remain illegal in Missouri.

"It’s kind of an unusual proposal, since it would be an ordinance that really didn’t have any actual legal effect," Rostron told KSHB 41 News. "But I guess there is nothing that says they can’t have people vote on something merely as an 'advisory' measure, just to express an opinion to the state legislature, for whatever that is worth."

In one of the first tests since the Supreme Court ended a 50-year precedent set by Roe v. Wade, voters in Kansas soundly rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have allowed the legislature to heavily restrict abortion in the state.

A recount, which was sought based on unfounded fears of voter fraud, failed to overturn the result or show any widespread issue with the count.