Anti-choice Missouri legislators have wasted no time in the new year introducing extreme bills that restrict access to abortion. State legislators have already introduced 15 bills that create unnecessary burdens for women seeking a safe and legal abortion.
“In a state that only has one remaining abortion provider, anti-women’s health politicians in Missouri are doing whatever they can to limit a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions,” Planned Parenthood wrote in a statement about the bills.
In early January, legislators introduced a bill that would increase Missouri’s current 24-hour waiting period to 72 hours. Waiting periods do not promote health or safety. They simply increase economic hardships for women who may not be able to make multiple trips to a clinic or pay for transportation and a hotel while they wait to have the procedure. “This harmful bill would triple the current waiting period for women accessing safe, legal medical care in Missouri,” Ryann Summerford, the statewide manager of government affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, told ThinkProgress. “This bill is designed to demean and shame a woman in an effort to try to make her change her mind.”
Several bills were also introduced that would require women to have a mandatory ultrasound 24 hours prior to having an abortion, enshrine protections for crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) from any regulations – even though CPCs have been shown to mislead women seeking an abortion or information about their options if they become pregnant - and increase inspection requirements for Missouri’s only clinic.
A two-parent notification bill is the most recent piece of anti-choice legislation to be introduced, which would require both parents or the legal guardian of a minor to be notified if the minor wants to have an abortion. Under current law, one parent would also be required to provide written consent. The Guttmacher Institute reports that these laws have led to more minors travelling out of their state to another one with fewer restrictions.
Media Resources: Planned Parenthood 1/23/14; RH Reality Check 1/9/14, 1/13/14, 1/14/14, 1/22/14; Guttmacher Institute March 2009; Feminist Newswire 7/2/13