Friday, September 22, 2023
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Anti-Abortion Ballot Summary Challenged

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A ballot proposal placing potential malpractice liability on doctors and nurses who provide abortions has "far-reaching legal changes" and "is likely to deceive and mislead voters," Planned Parenthood claims in Cole County Circuit Court.

The proposal, slotted for the November ballot, would expose abortion providers to medical malpractice suits if they perform an abortion without evaluating the patient for risk factors and documenting them as either negligible or less than continuing the pregnancy. A woman could sue the provider for $10,000 if the evaluations are not performed.

The measure's ballot summary states that the proposal would make it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion "without extensive and documented emotional, psychological, physical, situations and demographic evaluations" unless it is medically necessary to prevent immediate death or harm.

It is the second version of the ballot summary. The original summary was challenged by Planned Parenthood in January and was changed in February.

Mary Hickey, a Planned Parenthood supporter, filed this petition. Planned Parenthood claims the measure is purposely deceptive and vaguely written and could ban unnecessary abortions for women or create a chilling effect in which doctors would be afraid to perform abortions for fear of getting sued.

The ballot proposal was filed by David Reardon, director of the Elliott Institute, which studies the harm abortion does to women. Reardon filed the measure as part of the Stop Forced Abortions Alliance. The measure's supporters are working to get the number of signatures required to put the measure on the ballot by the May 3 deadline, but any signatures already collected would become void if Planned Parenthood is successful again in changing the ballot summary.

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