JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Businessman and GOP megadonor David Humphreys has given $1 million to a committee in support of a referendum to put the new abortion ban to a vote.
Humphreys has been outspoken about his opposition to the abortion law, banning the procedure after eight weeks, that was signed by Gov. Mike Parson late last month. His opposition particularly stems from a lack of exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
The $1 million donation to the Committee to Protect the Rights of Victims of Rape & Incest campaign was made Thursday, according to the Missouri Ethics Committee. The committee was formed at the end of May.
“While I am personally opposed to abortion, I do support a woman’s right to choose, particularly in the case of rape or incest,” Humphreys previously said in a memo to Parson. “And I have to believe that the politicians in Jeff City that voted for this bill would themselves support their wives or daughters’ right to choose if their loved ones were raped.”
“We remain committed to pursuing a referendum on HB126 and are prepared to take the necessary steps, including available legal remedies, to ensure women and underage minors who are victims of rape and incest have a greater voice on this issue,” Ken Spain, a consultant for Humphreys, said in a statement Friday.
Conservative Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin responded to the donation on Twitter, saying, “Even $1 million can’t make taking an innocent life = ‘Women’s healthcare.'”
Also on Thursday, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced the rejection of two referendum petitions — filed by the ACLU of Missouri and Humphreys — seeking to put the abortion ban to a vote of Missouri citizens. He told reporters the petitions were rejected because the bill included an emergency clause that made a portion of it go into effect immediately.
Another referendum petition from Humphreys — that did not include the provision with the emergency clause — hasn’t been decided.
The ACLU has already filed a legal challenge to Ashcroft’s rejection of its referendum, and an attorney for Humphreys told The Missouri Times he plans to file a lawsuit this week as well.
HB 126 bans abortions after eight weeks and includes many “nestled” components to include restrictions at 14, 18, and 20 weeks should a court overturn a portion of the law. And if Roe v. Wade — the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared a woman’s constitutional right to privacy includes medical decisions such as abortion — is ever overturned, abortions would be illegal outright in Missouri.
The provision requiring both parents or guardians of a minor be notified if she is seeking an abortion went into effect when Parson signed the law — due to an emergency clause.
While the law includes exceptions for medical emergencies, it does not include exemptions for victims of rape or incest. Rep. Shamed Dogan was the only House Republican who voted against the bill, citing concerns with the lack of exemptions.
Less then a week after the House vote, Humphreys donated $25,000 to Dogan’s Next Gen GOP PAC. It certainly wasn’t the first time Humphreys has contributed to the St. Louis lawmaker, but the donation seemingly backed up his public opposition to the bill that had become a bedrock of Missouri Republicans’ priorities this year.
In July 2018, Humphreys donated $1 million to the House Republican Campaign Committee.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in March 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City. Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S. and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa. She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.