Missouri has some of the strongest abortion laws in the country to discourage the procedure. The state’s 72-hour waiting period for women prior to having an abortion continues to cause controversy following its implementation in 2014.
Republicans in the Missouri Senate managed to end a Democratic-led filibuster and override a veto of the waiting period bill by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. The waiting period gives no exception to victims of rape and incest.
Gov. Nixon called the legislation “extreme and disrespectful” to women, The Kansas City Star reported
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“It is clear that by failing to include an exception for rape and incest, this extreme proposal would separate Missouri from all but one other state in the nation. I have profound concerns about its impact on women and especially the victims of these heinous crimes,” the governor said, according to the Los Angeles Times
South Dakota has a similar law, and Utah’s 72-hour waiting period gives exceptions for rape and incest.
Missouri’s waiting period was extended from 24 hours. “Another 48 hours could very well be the difference between a life saved and a life ended,” said David Sater, a Republican sponsor of the bill, according to The Kansas City Star
. “Knowing that a life is at stake, this is the least we can do for these children.”
Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, called it an intrusion into a woman’s private medical decisions. “This legislation was never about helping women, but instead is a way for some politicians in Jefferson City (Missouri’s capital) to pursue their own political agendas. It’s shameful and it risks women’s health.”
State Rep. Judy Morgan said: “This is designed to demean and shame a woman to get her to change her mind.”
Aside from the controversial law, pro-life and pro-choice advocates continue to debate all issues surrounding abortion in Missouri.
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The Missouri Right to Life group said
: “The idea that legalized abortion makes abortion ‘safe’ is untrue. There is strong evidence that there are many complications – physical, emotional and psychological – which can occur as a result of an abortion or multiple abortions.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America noted that Missouri
puts extra restrictions on abortion providers through the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP).
“Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which place medically unnecessary and costly requirements on doctors and can decrease the availability of abortion care for women,” the organization said on its website.
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