NATIONAL NEWS

Missouri Supreme Court weighs fate of amendment to restore abortion rights

Jul 18, 2023, 3:21 PM

FILE - Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey speaks to reporters after taking the oath of office ...

FILE - Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey speaks to reporters after taking the oath of office in Jefferson City, Mo., Jan. 3, 2023. A constitutional amendment to restore abortion rights in Missouri will move forward after a judge on Tuesday, June 20, broke a standoff between Bailey and the Missouri's state auditor that had halted the process. The auditor estimates that allowing abortions once again could cost local governments at least $51,000. Bailey says the measure would cost between $12 billion and $51 billion. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/David A. Lieb, File)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Whether Missouri voters get a chance weigh in on legalizing abortion is now up to state Supreme Court judges, who on Tuesday heard arguments in a case about Republican infighting that has stalled the amendment’s progress.

Judges did not indicate when they might rule on the case, which centers around a proposed amendment to enshrine in the constitution the individual right to make decisions about abortion, childbirth and birth control. Abortion-rights supporters proposed it after the state banned almost all abortions last summer.

The amendment hit a snag in April, when Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey refused to sign off on Republican Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick’s cost estimate.

Without Bailey’s approval, abortion-rights supporters have not been able to start work getting the signatures needed to put the measure before voters in 2024.

They sued, and a circuit court judge last month ordered Bailey to approve the cost estimate. He has not, instead appealing to the Supreme Court to validate him.

ACLU attorney Tony Rothert on Tuesday asked judges to force Bailey to act so he no longer can singlehandedly “hold hostage and potentially even kill an initiative.”

“The attorney general’s actions here are the most serious threat to direct democracy that has ever happened in Missouri,” Rothert said.

Assistant Attorney General Jason Lewis told Supreme Court judges Tuesday that Fitzpatrick’s office used “nonsensical methodologies” to calculate the cost estimate of at least $51,000 annually in reduced local tax revenues.

Lewis argued the price tag could be up to $51 billion each year because of reduced tax revenue from fewer births and the complete loss of federal Medicaid funding. That would equate to about one-sixth of the state’s approximately $300 billion annual GDP.

“The auditor could have and should have done more,” Lewis said.

Auditor’s Office attorney Robert Tillman said the Attorney General’s Office engaged in “legal gymnastics” to defend the stonewalling.

“The attorney general would have you believe that facts and figures are argumentative and prejudicial,” Tillman said. “But numbers are numbers.”

___

For more AP coverage of the abortion issue: https://apnews.com/hub/abortion

National News

Associated Press

Florida man arrested, accused of making threats against Trump, Vance on social media

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man accused of making threats against former President Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. JD Vance and their families on social media was arrested on Friday, police said. The Jupiter Police Department said in a news release that officers arrested Michael W. Wiseman on charges of written threats to kill. He […]

52 minutes ago

FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves the Capitol after being expelled from the House of Repres...

Associated Press

Judge turns down ex-Rep. George Santos’ request to nix some charges ahead of fraud trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. George Santos on Friday lost a bid to get rid of part of the criminal case against him as he heads toward trial on charges that include defrauding campaign donors. U.S. District Joanna Seybert turned down Santos’ request to dismiss charges of aggravated identity theft and theft of […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

A judge adds 11 years to the sentence for a man in a Chicago bomb plot

CHICAGO (AP) — A man convicted of plotting to blow up a Chicago bar will have to spend another 11 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly resentenced Adel Daoud to 27 years in prison on Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman originally sentenced Daoud to 16 years in […]

2 hours ago

FILE Opponents to an immigration proposal gather inside the Arizona State Capitol, Tuesday, June 4,...

Associated Press

Legal fight continues with appeals over proposed immigration initiative for Arizona Nov. 5 ballot

PHOENIX (AP) — The fight to keep a proposed border initiative off Arizona’s Nov. 5 ballot is not over yet. Immigrant advocates kept the issue alive this week by filing notice to the state Supreme Court that they will appeal the judge’s ruling. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on July 12 rejected an effort […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Lawsuit filed over Alabama law that blocks more people with felony convictions from voting

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A voting rights group says a new Alabama law that expanded the list of felonies that cause a person to lose their right to vote is “out of step” with what is happening in most of the nation on voting rights for formerly incarcerated people. The Campaign Legal Center filed the […]

3 hours ago

FILE - American Airlines planes wait at gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Friday, J...

Associated Press

American Airlines has a contract deal with flight attendants, and President Biden is happy about it

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines and the union representing its flight attendants said Friday they have reached agreement on a new contract that includes pay raises, and President Joe Biden said the deal avoids a strike that would have hurt the U.S. economy and consumers. Terms of the proposal were not disclosed. The […]

3 hours ago

Missouri Supreme Court weighs fate of amendment to restore abortion rights