JEFFERSON CITY — Republican mega-donor David Humphreys on Friday endorsed an effort to overturn an anti-abortion law Gov. Mike Parson signed last week.
Parson, also a Republican, signed House Bill 126 last Friday. The law takes effect Aug. 28 and bans abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, except when there is a medical emergency. There are no exceptions allowing abortions in cases of rape or incest.
Humphreys endorsed the Committee to Protect the Rights of Victims of Rape and Incest. As of Friday, there were no records on the Missouri Ethics Commission's website showing the group had filed any registration paperwork.
Attorney Lowell Pearson, who often represents Republican clients, filed two questions with the secretary of state's office Friday. Both seek a public referendum on the abortion law in November 2020.
"I support the Committee’s referendum petition to overturn HB126," Humphreys said in a statement. "Abortion is (a) very personal subject with complicated moral issues for all involved. With no consideration given to victims of rape and incest, this legislation’s impact reflects bad public policy with negative consequences for Missourians. As such, I support the Committee’s effort to protect women in the case of rape or incest.
"I invite other like-minded people to join in the Committee’s efforts and with financial and personal support of its signature gathering and campaign," he said.
Sara Baker, legislative director for the ACLU of Missouri, said Humphreys' effort was separate from the ACLU's. On Tuesday, the ACLU filed its own referendum with the same end goal of convincing voters to veto the law.
"They are filing their own referendum," she said.
To place a question on the ballot, proponents of either effort will have to collect more than 100,000 signatures around the state by Aug. 28 to stop the law from going into effect.
The legislation Parson signed also bans a woman from aborting a fetus that might have Down syndrome. It requires both parents or guardians to be notified before minors can get an abortion, in most cases.
The measure says anyone “who knowingly performs or induces an abortion” in cases that are not exempted by the legislation would be guilty of a Class B felony, which carries a minimum five-year prison sentence.
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, “in whole or in part,” the legislation states that all abortions would be made illegal except in cases of a medical emergency.
Humphreys, whose Tamko Building Products makes roofing shingles, has funneled millions of dollars toward GOP causes in recent years, including to the election of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley and to the House Republican fundraising arm.
During the 2016 election cycle, Humphreys and his family contributed more than $14 million to Republicans.