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The Latest: ACLU petition aims to stop Missouri abortion law

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on the possible closure of Missouri’s only abortion clinic (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

The ACLU of Missouri is seeking a statewide vote on a new law that will ban most abortions starting at eight weeks of pregnancy.

The ACLU said Tuesday that it has submitted a referendum petition to the secretary of state’s office as a first step toward blocking and potentially repealing the law that Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed last week.

If the petition is approved for circulation, the ACLU would need to gather more than 100,000 signatures to block the law from taking effect on Aug. 28 and force a referendum in 2020.

A similar tactic was used in 2017, when opponents of a law limiting union powers submitted enough signatures to block it from taking effect. Missouri voters overwhelmingly rejected that law in 2018.

Also Tuesday, Planned Parenthood announced a lawsuit against the state that seeks to keep open its abortion clinic in St. Louis. Planned Parenthood says the state may not renew the clinic’s license, which means it could be forced to stop performing abortions as of Saturday.

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11:55 a.m.

Planned Parenthood is suing to keep Missouri’s last remaining abortion clinic open.

Leaders of Planned Parenthood said Tuesday that the lawsuit seeks a restraining order that would prevent the state from closing the clinic in St. Louis.

State officials have not returned several messages seeking comment.

Planned Parenthood says the current license for the St. Louis facility expires Friday and Missouri is threatening not to renew it. If that happens, the organization says Missouri would become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

Missouri is among half a dozen states that have passed sweeping anti-abortion measures. Parson, a Republican, signed a bill Friday banning abortions on or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

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11:15 a.m.

Planned Parenthood says Missouri’s only abortion clinic could be closed by the end of the week because the state is threatening to not renew its license.

Planned Parenthood officials said in a teleconference Tuesday that the current license for the St. Louis facility expires Friday. If not renewed, the organization says Missouri would become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

Phone and email messages left for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Gov. Mike Parson’s office haven’t been returned.

Missouri is among half a dozen states that have passed sweeping anti-abortion measures. Parson, a Republican, signed a bill Friday banning abortions on or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

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