Missouri Legislature Passes Three-Day Abortion Waiting Period

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Missouri is set to join Utah and South Dakota and require that women wait at least 72 hours before getting an abortion, the longest waiting period in this country.

The state currently has a 24-hour waiting period (as do 23 other states), but its Republican-led House voted to triple that today. The Senate, also majority Republican, passed the bill yesterday. Patients must also obtain "informed consent" based on written and verbal information (as they did when the 24-hour waiting period was in effect), and now they'll have to watch a video, too, because one representative, a Democrat, thought this would help "visual learners" change their minds about having abortions.

The bill now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, to sign or veto. The AP notes that Nixon "has previously allowed other abortion restrictions to become law without his signature" and that while he hasn't said what he'll do in regard to this bill, he did say yesterday that "he would review the extended waiting period and act in a manner consistent with his other actions on abortion legislation." I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that means he's going to let this bill become law without his signature.

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Utah's waiting period can be waived in cases where the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest or if the patient is 15 or younger. Similar exceptions to Missouri's waiting period were introduced -- and rejected.

Missouri, with a population of about 6 million people, has just one clinic that performs elective abortions, a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis. St. Louis, incidentally, is one of the most dangerous cities in America, with one of the highest per capita murder rates. Last month, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that every week in the city, at least one child is injured or killed by gunfire, and "shootings kill more children and teenagers than cancer, heart disease and infections combined." More children are killed by gun violence in St. Louis than any other city in the country except New Orleans.

There is no waiting period to purchase a gun in Missouri.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.