Missouri woman now have one more hoop to jump through to receive an abortion. State lawmakers voted Wednesday night to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a bill to expand wait period for abortions from 24 hours to 72 hours. That means over two thirds of both the House (117-44) and the Senate (23-7) voted in favor of the veto override, making Missouri one of three states that makes women wait several days before getting the procedure, along with Utah and South Dakota.
While Utah grants exemptions for rape and incest, the Missouri bill purposefully does not. As the bill's sponsor, Republican state Rep. Kevin Elmer, told USA Today when the bill first passed in May, this isn't about the mother. "The crux of it is for me when does life begin, and how do you value it?" Elmer said. "For me, even though that tragic situation may occur, I still believe that God is at work in this world and that he'll let bad things happen and he doesn't cause it." Supporters of the bill argue that making women "reflect" on their decision is compassionate, as is informing them about options like adoption.
Opponents of the bill argue that it's insulting to assume that women don't already consider their options, especially in cases of rape, incest, or fetal illness. It's an example of the conservative desire for less government intervention is trumped by social conservatism. As Gov. Nixon put it when he rejected the bill it "presupposes that women are unable to make up their own minds without further government intervention. This is insulting to women, particularly in light of what the law already requires.”
The law has also eliminated all but one abortion clinic in the entire state, meaning women have to either spend extra money and time in St. Louis waiting for the clock to run out or go to a different state. Planned Parenthood St. Louis hasn't said whether it will challenge the law, which takes effect in 30 days, in court.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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