KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County voters will not see an advisory referendum on abortion rights on the November ballot.
Opponents successfully argued that the proposed ballot measure would be confusing for voters.
The ballot question would have asked Jackson County voters whether Missouri’s trigger law should be repealed. But the results of that vote would not have actually changed any law.
Missouri’s abortion law, which took effect immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe versus Wade, bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy without exception for rape or incest.
“This is just an opportunity to be heard,” Tony Miller, Jackson County Legislator, said. “Any suggestion that a vote in favor of this means somehow that you have to support this, that’s not true either. I certainly am in favor of Jackson County voters, for once, to have a say and at least have their voice be heard. It may do nothing in Jefferson City, but it certainly is going to take away any question about how people in this community feel about it.”
The proposed county referendum needed six votes to get on the ballot.
Opponents successfully argued that while they support a statewide referendum, which could actually have the force of law, they saw a county-only advisory vote as a waste of time.
“It would make much more sense for the state to get it on the ballot and to put it and vote it statewide,” Dan Tarwater, Jackson County Legislator, said. “That actually would have something to it. This would just cause confusion.”
A vote to repeal in Jackson County may have given the Jackson County prosecutor political cover to not enforce the abortion ban.
But already in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has suspended a county prosecutor for pledging not to enforce that state’s abortion ban.
The proposed referendum would have been much different from the vote earlier this month in Kansas, where a majority of voters agreed that the state constitution there guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion.
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