Reproductive Rights

Missouri Governor Vetoes 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon last week vetoed a 3-day waiting period for abortions and issued a fiery response to state lawmakers who signed off on the measure. Now, the Republican-led legislature is threatening to override when Missouri’s state session resumes next term.

via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

The bill was passed by the Missouri legislature in May. It was one of 30 anti-abortion bills proposed by this session alone. Had Governor Nixon signed the bill, Missouri would have joined South Dakota in having the longest waiting period for an abortion with no exception for rape or incest. As it stands, Missouri’s current 24-hour waiting period gives no special consideration to victims of rape or incest.

In his veto letter, Gov. Nixon deemed the 24-hour waiting period “extensive” and blasted lawmakers for venturing to triple the mandatory wait time. “I cannot condone the absence of an exception for rape and incest,” the Governor stated. “This glaring omission is wholly insensitive to women who find themselves in horrific circumstances, and demonstrates a callous disregard for their well-being.”

Gov. Nixon charged that the new law would ultimately re-victimize survivors, saying “government would mandate that she, too, endure more suffering, even after she has undergone the extensive counseling and consent process that already exists under Missouri law.”

The Missouri state legislature passed the original bill only one vote shy of a super majority–enough to override of the Governor’s veto next session. A new poll, however, conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that 50 percent of Missourians oppose the 72-hour waiting period, while 42 percent support it. Additionally, 71 percent of voters said they wanted to see the state legislature move on to economic issues instead of attempting to override the Governor’s veto.

Media Resources:  Feminist Newswire 5/15/14; USA Today 7/3/14; The Missouri Times 7/8/14; Office of Missouri Governor 7/2/14

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