Missouri could become the third state in the nation to require a 72-hour wait for a woman wanting to have an abortion, under legislation that has been sent to Governor Jay Nixon (D). The bill, HB 1307, would triple the current 24-hour waiting period in Missouri.
The House voted 111-39 for the proposal, a strong enough vote to override a veto, but the Senate vote fell one short of the two-thirds majority.
Nixon has not said whether he would support the 72-hour waiting period, saying only that he has been consistent on such issues. In the past he has let other bills placing restrictions on abortion become law without his signature.
Proponents say the legislation isn’t about whether or not a woman should be allowed to have an abortion, but whether she gets all the information available and has time to consider that information.
“Lets get off the issue of whether there’s going to be an abortion or not,” argues Representative Jeanie Riddle (R-Mokane). “What we’re trying to do is get information to these women, we’re trying to give them healthy choices and we’re trying to lessen the suicide rate of women that are in turmoil.”
Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) argues 72-hours is not too long to wait before having a serious procedure.
“There is no more serious medical procedure than this,” says Barnes. “The last time we debated this bill we heard somebody get up and talk about how it took 6-months for her husband to decide whether he would get a knee surgery. A knee surgery, Mr. Speaker, and we’re talking about the ending of a human life.”
Opponents say the legislation is an attack on women’s ability to have an abortion led primarily by Republicans.
“The idea that a woman would not have taken this time already to take the time and have discussions with her doctor is insulting,” argues Representative Genise Montecillo (D-St. Louis). “You give them 72-this year … you’re going to be back for another day or two next year.”
The passage of the measure in the Senate came on a deal that saw that chamber’s Democrats end a filibuster of the bill in exchange for Republicans agreeing not to bring up bills on so-called “paycheck protection” and photo-ID.