Kansas City, Missouri – In Missouri, people might soon vote on abortion rights in November, and surprisingly, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, is backing this idea.
Hawley did not signal support for changing Missouri’s abortion ban, which went into effect in June 2022 when a remade Supreme Court of the U.S. struck down Roe v. Wade. Even though he was happy about the end of Roe and used to be Missouri’s attorney general and is from Kansas City, he says it’s up to the people now.
“Absolutely,” Hawley said in an interview Thursday with KSHB 41. “This is what the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs does is that it takes away the abortion issue from the court from nine people. Why should nine people get to impose their views, whatever they are, on the rest of America? I mean, the Constitution leaves this issue to the people.”
After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Missouri put into action a law they made in 2019. This law greatly limits the ability to end pregnancies, only allowing it in urgent medical situations, but not for cases of rape or incest.
“Voters could change their minds — they can change the law that’s on the books in their state now; they can come back later and change it again,” Hawley said. “That is their right. So, I’m absolutely in favor of voters getting to weigh in on this as many times as they want to.”
If those organizing the effort manage to get a vote scheduled in 10 months, this November would be the first time the people of Missouri directly vote on this topic.
“My view is the voters should decide, whether that’s by voting for state representatives or voting themselves at the ballot box,” he said.
Missouri’s tough abortion law labels it a Class B felony for doctors to perform abortions. In emergency medical cases, the doctor has to prove the necessity of the procedure.
Before this strict ban, abortions were allowed in Missouri up to 22 weeks into pregnancy. When the ban started, Planned Parenthood in St. Louis was the only clinic in Missouri providing abortion services.
In Missouri, people can suggest changes to the constitution if the legislature doesn’t take action. This involves collecting signatures, a process which Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey actively tried to slow down and hinder.
Recently, Missouri residents have successfully used this process to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana and to expand Medicare.
Meanwhile, in Kansas, abortions are still legal. This is because in 2019, the state’s Supreme Court decided that the state constitution protects abortion rights.
After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which ended the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade precedent, Kansas conservatives attempted to change their state constitution. However, voters strongly turned down this proposal, Amendment 2, by nearly a 20% margin.
Following the overturn of Roe, election results across various states, even those with strong Republican control, have repeatedly supported abortion rights or blocked efforts to limit them.
A Republican strategist in Missouri has suggested another constitutional amendment. This one would allow abortions only within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy but would make exceptions for rape and incest.
Sen. Josh Hawley has previously shown support for allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest, and when the mother’s health is at risk.