Missouri referendum petition laws ruled unconstitutional

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A judge’s gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A circuit court judge has ruled that laws used by Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft last year to thwart a referendum petition on abortion restrictions are unconstitutional.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled that Ashcroft did not give opponents of a restrictive Missouri abortion law enough time to collect signatures to get a referendum on the ballot.

While the ruling grew out of efforts to overturn a Missouri law that banned abortion after eight weeks, Beetem’s ruling, issued Friday, pertains to all referendum petitions in the future.

Ashcroft’s spokeswoman said Monday that the office is reviewing the decision.

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