Missouri’s abortion ban currently includes an exception for health emergencies of the mother but does not include exceptions for rape and incest. Several initiative petitions filed that seek to add those to the ban are receiving pushback from both sides of the issue, including candidate for governor Bill Eigel.

“I don’t support those exceptions,” he told Missourinet. “I don’t want to support anymore exceptions to the existing law in the state of Missouri. In fact, I know Mike Kehoe has come out and said he’s very open to what effectively turn one of the toughest restrictions on abortion in the country into Swiss cheese. I think he’s wrong on that issue. I think that Republicans are going to disagree with him on that issue.”

Kehoe, a Republican who is also running for governor, has said he would consider rape and incest exceptions to abortion if he gets a bill like that as governor from the Republican-controlled legislature.

According to the Missouri Independent, anti-abortion groups claim the exceptions are far too expansive, and abortion-rights proponents argue the initiatives are too restrictive. The exceptions are being pitched as a middle ground between the ban currently in place and more expansive proposals filed earlier this year.

He says that the exceptions in place go too far and that Missourians have been electing pro-life Republicans to represent them in Jefferson City for the opposite message.

“As it comes to the Secretary of State, I think Jay Ashcroft should reject a lot of these items from the ballot,” he said. “Jay Ashcroft has done a really poor job protecting the ballot as it relates to initiative petitions from items that get onto the ballot that don’t meet constitutional muster and have multiple subjects. We saw Amendment 3 last year had 38 pages and 50,000 words and had about 14 different subjects. He didn’t do his job and reject that from the ballot.”

Eigel says exceptions should not be on the ballot.

“I don’t believe that Missourians are looking for a leader that, when called upon to do the difficult things in their job, aren’t going to do it. Jay Ashcroft stood back and did nothing,” said Eigel. “Now he’s standing back watching this latest conversation relative to initiative petitions and expanding abortion in the state, not doing his job, he should reject those items from the ballot, but he refuses to do that, and I think that Republicans are watching and they’re not going to be impressed.”

Ashcroft, a Republican who is also running for governor, is involved in a court battle over the language he has chosen to summarize to voters the intent of a potential vote of the people about abortion. The move has delayed the gathering of signatures to potentially put the question on next year’s election ballot – a tactic Ashcroft was successful at using in 2019.

Copyright 2023, Missourinet.