Missouri Passes 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

It's not clear whether governor will sign

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted May 15, 2014 6:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Missouri women who want an abortion may soon have to wait three full days before getting one. The state House voted 111-39 last night to approve legislation that will require a 72-hour waiting period. The state Senate had passed it earlier this week, and now it heads to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk. It's not clear whether he'll sign the bill, the News-Leader reports; he's signed other abortion-related bills, but has also vetoed bills limiting access to contraception. Hundreds of protesters took to the steps of the Missouri Capitol on Monday to stage a 72-hour "women's filibuster" of the bill, a protest scheduled to end this afternoon, the Huffington Post reports.

Opponents say the bill will make it more difficult for poor women, in particular, to get an abortion: The state has just one abortion clinic, in St. Louis, and the bill would require women to get an appointment with the physician, then wait 72 hours before having the procedure—meaning women would need to travel to St. Louis twice or spend three days in the city. The bill seems "designed to demean and shame a woman in an effort to change her mind," says one Democratic state rep, who argues that women don't make the decision lightly in the first place. Only South Dakota and Utah currently have similar waiting periods.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones holds a news conference Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo.
Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones holds a news conference Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo.   (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)
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