Public vote on new Missouri abortion law faces time crunch

Abortion-rights supporters march Thursday, May 30, 2019, in St. Louis. A St. Louis judge is deciding whether to grant an order that would allow Missouri's only abortion clinic to keep its license to perform abortions past Friday. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's secretary of state says abortion-rights advocates can start collecting signatures to get a public vote on a new law restricting abortions. But advocates say Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft's Wednesday decision leaves them with only two weeks to collect enough signatures.

The law would ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. It includes an exception for medical emergencies but not rape or incest.

Robin Utz is treasurer of a political action committee pushing to put the new abortion law to a public vote. She says Ashcroft dragged his feet and has left the group with the "impossible task" of collecting roughly 100,000 signatures in time.

Most of the new law takes effect Aug. 28.

An Associated Press request for comment to Ashcroft's office was not immediately returned Wednesday.

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