JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri would become the third state to make women wait three days to have an abortion after seeing a doctor under legislation passed by the state House on Tuesday.
The bill would triple Missouri’s current 24-hour waiting period and put the state in line with Utah and South Dakota as the only states to mandate a 72-hour time frame. The Missouri House vote came hours after a few hundred anti-abortion advocates rallied at the state Capitol in support of the measure. “If you are going to make a decision about life or death, shouldn’t it take more than three days to think about it?” House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, asked at the rally in the Capitol rotunda.
But opponents said the bill is an affront to women and would push them further into pregnancies before an abortion, which can increase risk. “Having politicians force women to further delay when they have abortions is wrong and it will force women to undergo more complicated abortion procedures,” said Paula Gianino, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.
The Missouri House voted 115-39 to send the bill to the state Senate. Nine Democrats joined Republicans in supporting the bill. The final vote tally is six more than would be needed to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Nixon has previously allowed other abortion restrictions to become law without his signature, including a measure last year that requires doctors to be in the room for the initial dose of a drug used in medical abortions. At a Monday news conference, Nixon said only that he would thoroughly review the waiting period bill.
The St. Louis-based Planned Parenthood is the only facility in Missouri that currently performs elective abortions.