Campaign To Legalize Abortion In Missouri Raises Nearly $5M In 3 Months

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A campaign to legalize abortion in Missouri on Tuesday announced it raised close to $5 million in the past three months, a fundraising sprint crucial to getting the measure on this year's ballot.

Missourians for Constitutional Freedom announced it brought in more than $4.8 million from January through the end of March. A rival anti-abortion campaign raised $85,000 in the same time period.

If approved by voters, the Missouri measure would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. Lawmakers would still be able to regulate abortion after fetal viability.

Missouri outlawed almost all abortions with no exceptions in the case of rape or incest immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. Missouri law only allows abortions for medical emergencies.

The abortion-rights campaign has until May 5 to gather signatures from 8% of legal voters in any six of the eight congressional districts. At minimum, that represents more than 171,000 valid voter signatures.

So far, the campaign has spent more than $3.4 million. Most of that — about $3.2 million — has gone to signature gathering and processing.

In Ohio, a successful 2023 initiative guaranteeing abortion rights cost a combined $70 million. Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, the campaign in favor of the initiative, raised and spent more than $39.5 million to pass the constitutional amendment. Protect Women Ohio, the campaign against it, raised and spent about $30.4 million.

It's unclear how close the Missouri campaign is to collecting the needed 171,000 signatures. The campaign said workers gathered close to 20,000 signatures in a one-day blitz on April 2 but declined to provide total signature numbers.

Monday was also the deadline for Missouri candidates to report recent fundraising.

Democrat Lucas Kunce outraised incumbent U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, bringing in more than $2.2 million to Hawley's $850,000. St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell raised $952,000 compared to his Democratic rival U.S. Rep. Cori Bush's $590,000.

Top Missouri gubernatorial fundraisers were Republican Gov. Mike Kehoe, who raised almost $557,000, and Democrat Mike Hamra. Hamra raised $512,000, including $500,000 in self-funding.

Most Missouri candidates also have political action committees that can fundraise and spend money to help elect them but cannot directly coordinate with the candidates or their campaigns. The numbers reported above do not include PAC fundraising.