Editorial: Gov. Eric Greitens sets up expensive legal showdown over new abortion law | Editorial

Asserting the absurd claim of protecting women’s health and safety, Gov. Eric Greitens approved a law last week tightening abortion regulations. An expensive legal showdown is almost certain to follow, all so the governor can burnish his political credentials at taxpayers’ expense. The Supreme Court has struck down similar laws in other states, saying abortions are medically safe and criticizing such laws as a ruse to chip away at access to legal abortions.

Added to that concern is a provision in the law allowing for legal overreach by Attorney General Josh Hawley, giving him authority to enforce and prosecute abortion laws without notifying local prosecutors. All Missourians should be worried about the continued effort by Republican lawmakers to take away local authority, even while those lawmakers vigorously condemn federal bigfooting.

Abortion opponents want Hawley, a staunch supporter of their cause, to have power over local prosecutors, who they fear won’t vigorously pursue suspected violations. The Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys opposes the effort to expand Hawley’s authority, as does board member and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch.

McCulloch noted that voters choose local prosecutors and trust them to make decisions on whether to file charges. Stripping away that authority because some people distrust current elected prosecutors is a bad move.

In a further sign of expanding state control, the law exempts agencies that offer abortion alternatives from a new St. Louis ordinance barring job and housing discrimination against women who take birth control or have had an abortion.

Abortion-rights supporters and opponents can be enthusiastic about data showing that abortions are at a nationwide low since the Supreme Court legalized the procedure in 1973….

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