Hours before the Missouri legislature adjourned for the summer last week, House Speaker Dean Plocher said the quiet part out loud. In chiding the state Senate for failing to pass a bill making it more difficult for citizens to amend the state constitution, he warned that if a referendum to restore abortion rights in Missouri needs only a simple majority to pass, it would. In other words, Plocher admitted that efforts to change the ballot petition process are a blatant maneuver to deny Missourians the right to weigh in on this crucial question. That makes it more important than ever that pro-choice forces get abortion rights onto the 2024 statewide ballot.

The bill that passed the House this session, but thankfully stalled in the Senate, would have required a victory of 57% of the statewide vote to make changes to the state constitution via ballot initiative. Contrary to some legislative Republicans’ straight-faced claims, the timing of this sudden urgency for silencing Missourians was not coincidental — it was entirely about ensuring that Missouri’s draconian new abortion ban doesn’t get overturned by the voters.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.