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Jackson County voters won't weigh in on Missouri abortion law this November

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Posted at 2:19 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 06:55:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County voters will not be asked to weigh in on Missouri's abortion law this November.

An ordinance introduced on Aug. 22, that would have asked residents in the county on Nov. 8 where they stand on Missouri's ban on abortion, failed in the Jackson County Legislature during Monday's meeting. The ordinance would not have changed the legality of abortions in Missouri or Jackson County.

The ordinance failed despite the 4-1 vote with two legislators, Dan Tarwater III and Chair Theresa Cass-Galvin, opting to abstain and two others absent. Six votes yes were required to pass the ordinance.

Missouri's trigger law that bans abortions in the state went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24.

The ordinance would have asked whether the law "should be repealed to ensure safe and legal access to abortion."

"I believe we should give the chance for voters voices to be heard," legislator Jalen Anderson, a sponsor of the ordinance, said.

Crystal Williams, Tony Miller and Ronald Finley also voted for the ordinance.

Legislator Jeanie Lauer, who voted no, said the language of the ordinance was unclear and was misleading residents into believing the vote would change the legality of abortions in Jackson County.

"Since this has been on the agenda, I've gotten a number of emails and phone calls from citizens who are not clear on what this means," Lauer said.

Scott Burnett and Charlie Franklin were not present for the meeting.

County Executive Frank White Jr. took exception to the legislature's decision in a statement Monday afternoon:

It is unbelievable that the same people who voted to put the location of a statue on the ballot, refused today to give Jackson County voters a voice about their own bodies or those of their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

I cannot understand how anyone could stand in the way of allowing Jackson County voters the opportunity to voice their opposition to a law that makes it a crime for a victim of rape or incest to terminate their pregnancy. As the second-largest county in the state, our residents deserve to have their say on this important health care issue and show our country that despite the views of a few, we value human dignity, freedom of choice and individual liberty.

Though I am disappointed by today’s outcome, I am not discouraged and vow to keep standing up for women in Jackson County and our democratic process.
Frank White Jr., Jackson County Executive