MISSOURI – Abortion rights groups are responding to the new ballot summary written by a Missouri judge.

A petition was presented to put the issue of abortion rights in front of Missouri voters in Nov. 2024.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft drafted ballot language calling abortions “dangerous” and “unregulated,” but a Missouri judge stepped in this week to take out that wording.

“It’s incredibly important that that ballot language is a reflection of the actual policy because for some folks, it might be the only engagement they ever have with that process,” said Mallory Schwarz, Executive Director of Abortion Action Missouri.

Senator Josh Hawley tells OzarksFirst this doesn’t come as a surprise.

“This is a fairly normal process where the secretary of state will write the language and if the advocacy groups, in this case the pro-abortion groups, don’t like it, they’re certainly entitled to challenge it,” Hawley said.

Now that the ballot language has been changed, it’s expected that Ashcroft will try to appeal that ruling.

“The secretary of state’s been doing this now for a good long while and he knows how to do his job,” Hawley said, “And I think his judgment on these things is usually good.”

Schwarz says this is just another attempt to delay this process and keep the petition from getting on the ballot next year.

“Throughout the entire process, anti-abortion politicians have been clear about intentionally delaying everything because they know and they have said as much, that Missourians want the opportunity to vote to restore abortion access,” Schwarz said.

Schwarz said the initial language on the ballot summary was “blatantly false.”

“The ban on abortion is a public health crisis and people are suffering every day,” Schwarz said, “And this would give Missourians an opportunity to use their voice, to use their will and take back the power for the people.”

The League of Women Voters of Missouri wrote this statement:

Representative Crystal Quade said in a statement:

“Extremist Republicans continue to utilize the power of their office to try and trick voters with outrageous lies. 

Secretary Ashcroft wrote an incredibly biased description, devoid of facts, and the Attorney General and several Republican Senators have attempted to mislead voters in an effort to keep the petition off the ballot and in the courts. 

It’s outrageous that these elected officials are so scared of letting Missourians vote on the issue, because they know they’ve gone too far and they know voters are sick of it.” 

Rep. Crystal Quade