ACLU: Timing threatens public vote on Missouri abortion law

A Planned Parenthood clinic is seen Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in St. Louis. On Monday, June 10, 2019, a judge in St. Louis issued another order allowing Missouri's only abortion clinic to continue operating. Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer granted Planned Parenthood's request for a preliminary injunction, which extends his temporary restraining order prohibiting Missouri from allowing the clinic's license to lapse. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Timing threatens to stymie efforts by the American Civil Liberties Union to put a new Missouri anti-abortion law to a public vote .

The Missouri Supreme Court on Friday refused to intervene to force the state's top Republican election official to act quickly on the referendum petition.

Attorneys for the ACLU of Missouri say if Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft doesn't act fast, that could leave the organization with only two weeks to collect the more than 100,000 signatures needed to put the law to a vote.

At issue is a new law banning abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy or later. Most of the law, including the eight-week ban, takes effect Aug. 28. That's the deadline for the ACLU to gather enough signatures to put the law to a vote.