The state House has sent to the Senate two bills that would change the laws governing abortion in Missouri.
One would triple the waiting period before a woman can have an abortion from 24 to 72 hours. In emotional and at times heated discussion, several House Democrats said the legislation would only make a woman wait longer to undergo a procedure she has already decided to have. Republicans argue that three days is not too long to ask a woman to wait to consider the procedure.
Sponsor Kevin Elmer (R-Nixa) says he and other supporters are acting on the belief that life begins at conception.
“It’s something that we feel very strongly about, just as those who believe that it happens at some other time feel very strongly about their side,” says Elmer.
The other bill would require the notification of both custodial parents or the guardian of a minor when that minor is seeking an abortion. Opponents like Representative Genise Montecillo (D-St. Louis) say that bill doesn’t fit for all families.
“What if that other parents … they’re not in that child’s life?” asks Montecillo. “Maybe they can’t get in contact with that person. What happens if they can’t reach … that parent has not been a part of their life for some time?”
Opponents argue the bill could create delays that would be harmful to the minor and could force a child to make contact with an abusive parent.
Backers say the bill will help minors get guidance and make good decisions.
Debate of the bills came hours after abortion opponents held a rally under the Capitol Dome.