by Steven Ertelt
February 22, 2008
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced on Thursday that a state ballot initiative seeking to prevent forced abortions in Missouri can move ahead. Carnahan certified that the proposal met state standards for circulation and now the sponsors can begin collecting the signatures necessary to qualify it.
Before the measure can be placed on the November 2008 ballot, backers must obtain signatures from registered voters equal to five percent of the votes cast in the 2004 governor’s election from six of the state’s nine congressional districts.
Depending on the combination of districts, the number of signatures required ranges between approximately 86,000 and 95,000 valid signatures.
The Stop Forced Abortions Alliance submitted ballot language to Carnahan previously and, last month, she approved for circulation a petition with erroneous language claiming the measure is about "banning abortions."
Media outlets then mis-reported the effort as a state abortion ban rather than an initiative to get abortion practitioners to ensure that women are not pressured into having an abortion by a partner or family.
Stop Forced Abortions told LifeNews.com that it re-filed the language, which Carnahan approved yesterday.
The new initiative now explicitly states that "It is not the intention of this law to make unlawful an abortion that is otherwise lawful."
According to Paula Talley, one of the group’s organizers, the new language should preclude any further misrepresentations of the initiative as a ban.
"Our initiative is properly titled the Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortions Act," she said. "All it really does is allow women to hold abortion doctors liable if they fail to screen for evidence of coercion or other risk factors."
"But you didn’t see any of that in the ballot summary Carnahan issued for our first initiative filing. She wrongly describes it as making certain abortions illegal. In fact, it makes nothing illegal," Talley explained.
The organization previously complained that, ten days before the group’s first initiative was made public, Planned Parenthood and NARAL began issuing news releases describing the unpublished initiative as an abortion ban.
When Carnahan’s office subsequently issued ballot language which also described it as a ban, the Stop Forced Abortions Alliance raised the concern that Carnahan had leaked the initiative language to Planned Parenthood in order to subject it to preemptive attacks.
Talley said the proposed law is important because it could have helped her avoid an abortion she now terribly regrets.
This is a very pro-woman law," she said. "If it had been in place in 1980, I would have been spared the years of grief and depression which followed my own unwanted abortion."
Talley says she was pressured into an abortion by her employer. She also says she was at greater risk of more severe emotional reactions to the abortion because of her prior history of sexual abuse and depression.
The abortion counselor never asked if I was being pressured nor did she inquire about my psychological history, she explained.
If she had, she should have known that in my case abortion was contraindicated. This law would help to prevent other women from being victims of negligent pre-abortion screening," Talley added.
According to the Stop Forced Abortions web site, as many as 64 percent of women having abortions feel pressured into them by other people.
Related web sites:
Stop Forced Abortions – https://www.stopforcedabortions.org