Ashcroft rips critics of Missouri abortion law suing over referendum failure

(AP) – Missouri’s top election official is firing back after abortion-rights advocates sued him for allegedly impeding their work to put one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws to a public vote.

Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on Friday said he’s sad that when organizations lose, “their normal response is to whine and claim that the rules should not apply to them.”

No Bans on Choice and the state’s American Civil Liberties Union sued Ashcroft Thursday .

The coalition was trying to put a new law banning abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy to a public vote. But they allege Ashcroft dragged his feet, leaving them with two weeks to gather the roughly 100,000 voter signatures needed to delay the law.

The law is scheduled to take effect Wednesday.

Earlier story:

(AP) – Abortion-rights advocates are suing following a failed attempt to put new Missouri abortion restrictions to a public vote.

No Bans on Choice and the state’s American Civil Liberties Union sued Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft Thursday.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys say Missouri laws and Ashcroft’s actions denied advocates of their right to referendum.

Critics of a new law that bans abortions at or after eight weeks of pregnancy sought to put it to a public vote. But they ran out of time to collect enough signatures to block the law from taking effect Wednesday.

They allege Ashcroft dragged his feet, causing the time crunch. They also say Missouri laws impede the right to referendum that’s guaranteed in Missouri’s Constitution.

Ashcroft’s spokeswoman says they need to read the lawsuit before commenting.

(This story was last updated at 11:00 a.m. Friday.)

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