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07/03/23 Missouri Mondays - 247 years of independence but the battle to protect democracy and --

freedoms continues! It’s up to us to fight back!



Welcome to another Missouri Mondays! Even as the nation marks 247 years of independence from Great Britain, our democracy and freedoms are under threat. Last year a conservative Supreme Court overturned 50 years of Roe v. Wade abortion protections and last week overturned affirmative action. Here in Missouri where the GOP hold supermajorities in the House and Senate, abortion rights and reproductive care, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, public libraries, public education, diversity/equity/inclusion, and more are all under attack. Missouri’s out of control unelected Attorney General Andrew Bailey is using his taxpayer funded office to threaten transgender care, smear and oust elected St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, overturn the conviction of a former KCPD police detective, delay the certification of the fiscal summary on an abortion rights initiative.

It is up to us to fight back. Help to support and elect those who will stand up for our freedoms and replace those who don’t!


Thanks for staying informed and answering our call to action each week! Help us spread the word to others and share our link to sign up for Missouri Mondays: https://www.moactionalliance.com/signup.


 

Missouri in the News


“Court Allows Faith Leaders’ Lawsuit Challenging Missouri Abortion Ban To Proceed”

Fourteen clergy from seven faith traditions largely won an important ruling in their lawsuit Friday challenging Missouri’s abortion ban and restrictions on medication abortion, all of which unconstitutionally impose one narrow religious doctrine on all Missouri residents and violate the separation of church and state. Judge Jason Sengheiser ruled that all of the clergy have sufficiently demonstrated standing at this stage of the litigation to bring the lawsuit and can proceed to litigate the case.


The court allowed the clergy to move forward with their challenges to the total abortion ban and medication abortion regulations, though it dismissed challenges to other restrictions that collectively decimated abortion access in the state even before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. The court also concluded that several local prosecutors should not be defendants in the case, but this does not prevent the case from proceeding. The court rejected all of Missouri’s other arguments against the lawsuit, including the arguments based on the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions.


Ruling a “great first step” toward restoring religious & reproductive freedom

“We largely prevailed and can now litigate our case, which will strike this abortion ban down as a violation of the separation of church and state,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “We need a national recommitment to the separation of church and state – that will protect both religious freedom and reproductive freedom. This ruling is a great first step.”


“We applaud the court’s decision allowing our challenges to Missouri’s harmful and unconstitutional total abortion ban and restrictions on medication abortion to proceed,” said Michelle Banker, Director of Reproductive Rights and Health Litigation at the National Women’s Law Center. “But we are disappointed that the court stopped short of hearing our challenge to the many other medically unnecessary restrictions which made abortion inaccessible to so many long before Roe was overturned. So while this decision is certainly a victory that we celebrate, it is a reminder that it will take all of us, and every tool we have, to meaningfully restore abortion access in Missouri.”



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“Faith leaders: Missouri abortion bans violate state constitution’s promise of church-state separation”


The lawsuit, Rev. Traci Blackmon v. State of Missouri, was filed in January during a week that began with National Religious Freedom Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day and ended with what would have been the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. These faith leaders felt it critical to challenge the Missouri abortion bans, which violate religious freedom and the state constitution’s promise of church-state separation.


Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and the law firm Arnold & Porter represent the fourteen members of the clergy, whose various faiths call them to support abortion access because of the critical importance it holds for the health, autonomy, economic security, and equality of women and all who can become pregnant. Religious traditions represented by the plaintiffs include Baptist, Episcopalian, Orthodox Judaism, United Church of Christ, Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalism and United Methodist. One plaintiff is also a state legislator.



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“Missouri lawmakers enshrined their personal religious beliefs about abortion into law”


“The lawsuit demonstrates that Gov. Michael Parson and the Missouri Legislature violated the state constitution by enshrining their personal religious beliefs about abortion into law when they enacted several abortion bans as part of House Bill No. 126, as well as earlier laws that destroyed abortion access in the state. One of the bans in H.B. 126 was a “trigger ban” that prohibited all abortions following the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. Lawmakers openly and repeatedly emphasized they were writing their religious beliefs into the abortion bans, even declaring in the bill itself that “Almighty God is the author of life” – a phrase that an opposing lawmaker noted was “in violation of the separation of church and state.” Legislators said they passed the ban because:


“to me God doesn’t give us a choice in this area. He is the Creator of life.”


“being from the Biblical side of it, I’ve always believed that life does occur at the point of conception.”


“Life begins at conception. Psalms 119 says …”


“as a Catholic I do believe life begins at conception. That is built into our legislative findings currently in law…”


(Examples of legislators’ remarks about their religious motivations to ban abortion are available here.)



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“Citing appeal, judge declines to order Missouri AG to comply with order on abortion initiative”


“A Cole County judge on Monday rejected a call from the ACLU of Missouri that he direct Attorney General Andrew Bailey to comply with a court order to certify the fiscal summary on an abortion rights initiative.


Circuit Judge Jon Beetem last Tuesday gave Bailey 24 hours to certify the fiscal summary to the auditor’s office, stating in his decision that Bailey had “an absolute absence of authority” to refuse the certification.


On Monday, Beetem said he agreed with Bailey that the appeal filed within 24 hours of the original order resulted in an automatic stay of his ruling. He added that the schedule set by the Missouri Supreme Court for an appeal of that order will bring a quick resolution.


That final decision may not come as fast as the ACLU of Missouri would like, Beetem noted, but it is speedy in court terms. The Supreme Court set oral arguments for July 18, and Beetem said he would expect a decision by the end of July.


“So it’s still a question that every day of delay prejudices the petitioners,” Beetem said. “But I don’t know that we could make it move any faster.”


The focus of the case is 11 versions of a proposed initiative petition seeking to roll back Missouri’s ban on abortion submitted in March to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office.


Ashcroft sent the submissions to the attorney general and to the state auditor’s office for review as required by law.


For every initiative, the attorney general reviews the petition to make sure it meets the legal requirements for circulation while the auditor works to summarize the cost. The auditor’s estimate is referred to the attorney general to make sure it, too, meets the legal requirements – a discussion of the projected cost in 50 words or less that are neutral on the merits of the proposal.


That process, supposed to take no more than 56 days, has now doubled that amount because Bailey refused to accept Fitzpatrick’s fiscal summary.


By first demanding changes to Fitzpatrick’s original estimate, and then refusing to certify it when the auditor declined to make changes, Bailey has effectively stalled the abortion initiative before signature-gathering can begin.”




UPCOMING EVENTS



TAKE ACTION WITH THE MISSOURI VOTER PROTECTION COALITION (MOVPC)

TO PROTECT THE RIGHT TO VOTE


**NO MOVPC Meeting Monday July 3 in commemoration of the July 4th holiday**


Join the MOVPC weekly meeting MONDAYS at 10 AM

Text “MOVPC” to 66866 or register HERE: bit.ly/protectmovoters


Our work to protect the vote requires our continued attention! So we hope you'll join our next MOVPC call where we will discuss the necessary steps in our fight to protect the right to vote in Missouri. MOVPC is a nonpartisan statewide network promoting access to the ballot and working to remove barriers to voting in Missouri!

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The Stars and Stripes Picnic

Tuesday, July 4

The public is welcome starting at 3pm, Fireworks begins around 9:40pm

National WWI Museum and Memorial

2 Memorial Dr.

Kansas City, MO 64108


The Stars and Stripes Picnic at the National WWI Museum and Memorial is Kansas City’s official Independence Day celebration! Bring your friends and family to grab a bite to eat, shop from local vendors, listen to live music and enjoy the largest fireworks display in the city.


The public is welcome to begin picnicking on the south grounds of the Museum and Memorial as early as 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4. A fireworks display will begin around 9:40 p.m.


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MISSOURI HOUSE DEMOCRATS


Get involved!

We need your help to make sure there is an active presence in every district in our state, because every district matters in the fight to flip Missouri blue. Can we count on you to help us build progressive communities across the state? Get involved in your area https://www.mohousedems.com/get-involved


Make a donation!

Every election matters. Every gift can help.

Donate today and help us keep building the infrastructure needed to recruit, train, and support local candidates in Missouri.


Organizing efforts require year-round work, not just when there is an upcoming election, and your donation will help build the groundwork needed to bring real change benefitting all Missourians.


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MISSOURI MONDAYS NEWS SUPPLEMENT!


With so much important news each week we don’t want you to miss a thing! Check out our MISSOURI MONDAYS NEWS SUPPLEMENT here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13cokjWlCh2EkY5K6bM357rjVPizZDzxlMqjAuoBQfoI/edit?usp=sharing


 

THANK YOU! for staying informed and using your voice and actions to make a difference!

Invite your friends and neighbors to join us and sign up for Missouri Action Alliance and this Missouri Mondays email at moactionalliance.com/signup

Follow us on Twitter at @MissouriAction, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MOActionAlliance and check out our website at http://www.MOActionAlliance.com

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