JEFFERSON CITY — 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.

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