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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

In a week when the federal government placed even more restrictions on women’s rights, there was a silver lining on the state level: Governor Jay Nixon (D-MO) vetoed an extreme abortion bill on Wednesday.

House Bill 1307 would have tripled the mandatory waiting period before an abortion to 72 hours, which would have given Missouri the longest waiting period in the country, along with Utah and South Dakota. Since the bill does not provide an exception for rape and incest, it also would make Missouri, along with South Dakota, the only states with such a long waiting period and no exceptions.

“This extreme and disrespectful measure would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women,” Nixon said. “By failing to include an exception for rape and incest, House Bill 1307 demonstrates a callous disregard for women who find themselves in horrific circumstances and would make Missouri one of just two states in the nation to take such an extreme step. Lengthening the already extensive waiting period serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women who have undoubtedly already spent considerable time wrestling with perhaps the most difficult decision they may ever have to make.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R), said in April that the bill was completely reasonable, and compared abortion to purchasing a new car.

“In making a decision to buy a car, I put research in there to find out what to do,” he said.

Missouri’s current abortion law is still pretty extreme. Women have to wait for 24 hours before they can have an abortion, which is already a serious restriction, especially on women who have to travel far and suffer financial duress in order to receive medical care. Missouri only has one abortion clinic, in St. Louis.

The current law also requires doctors to present their patients with materials explaining the possibility of an abortion causing pain to the fetus, and an image and ultrasound depicting the heartbeat of the fetus. Doctors also must provide women with materials that explicitly state that “the life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.”

The bill was pushed through Missouri’s GOP-controlled House and Senate, and is only one of more than 30 anti-abortion bills that have been proposed this year. Women’s rights advocates protested the bill for 72 straight hours in May, to no avail.

The legislature will decide whether to override the veto in September. According to News-Press Now, “they could have the numbers to do so.” An override would require more than two-thirds of the vote in both chambers; the bill passed the House with more than two-thirds of the vote, and the Senate was one vote short, with one Republican absent.

Missouri isn’t the only state attempting to make abortion even harder for women to access. In June, Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) signed a bill that could force three of Louisiana’s five abortion clinics to close. Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) signed a bill in June that would make abortion illegal for a woman if doctors determined that the fetus would be viable if born. New abortion laws also went into effect in Alabama and Mississippi on July 1.

In fact, more state abortion restrictions went into effect from 2011-2013 than in the last decade as a whole.

Photo: GovernorJayNixon via Flickr

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Dominick Vila

    The most perplexing part of this issue is that decisions like this are being made by members of a party that, purportedly, advocates smaller and less intrusive government!

    • johninPCFL

      Seems like they want a government just small enough to place police in every exam room in every doctor’s office and every delivery room in every hospital. And of course, an army large enough to invade and occupy at least three countries simultaneously.

  • terry b

    Our country is loaded with terrible governors and congressmen. In Wisconsin we have Scott Walker who fits the American Psychiatric Associations definition of what defines a borderline Sociopath. He is joined by Texas’s Rick Perry. They have used their power to hammer several groups of people for no other reasons than because they can. Right out of the Sociopath handbook. Lets be like Pennsylvania and get these horrible politicians out of office and keep their ilk from ever attaining power again.

    • Allan Richardson

      I’m not so sure about the “borderline” part.

      • terry b

        They don’t use violence to make certain groups of people suffer. They use power. That is the only thing that separates them from the real sociopaths that plague society. Ironically Perry and Walker are even worse as they can effect all of these groups rather than just some of them. True sociopaths are probably a little bit jealous of them.

  • Ford Truck

    A brave thing for the governor to do, given that he will be attacked mercilessly by the brainless tea-party supporters when reelection comes around. The governor has proven that some people stand for what is right, even when facing true evil!

  • howa4x

    There are fables about kicking a sleeping giant too many times and that is what the GOP constantly does to women. This is a group that normally sits out the midterms but the republicans are doing their best to get them out to vote against them. I don’t t know why they the GOP keeps trying to appeal to a dwindling base at the expense of the larger majority but they never fail to do the wrong thing. It is almost like the autopsy was never written. OH well kick the women at your own peril republicans!

  • Lynda Groom

    I’m please to see that the governor vetoed this draconian piece of garbage. The very idea that women just strole into a clinic without ever having giving any thought to what they are doing is beyond insulting. Sitting around a few more days accomplishes nothing, except perhaps trying to make the event even for tramatic and painful.

  • Allan Richardson

    Republicans care nothing about the lives of people who do not have an umbilical cord or a big bank account.

  • jmprint

    So if it’s not a war on women, then what else can we call it. If all these republicans were working for the people and not the religious dollars, maybe there would be more jobs, better pay and immigration laws, but the least 6 years they have focused on the WOMB. Hey dumb boys it’s a WOMB not a BOMB. It’s ridiculous how they care about the unborn, but don’t want to have anything to do with God’s children that are already here and need help. I read the bible and I have never heard Jesus say anything about the unborn, BUT He has said plenty of feeding, and housing the needy.