Missouri legislators voted late last night to triple the state’s current 24-hour waiting period to 72 hours, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Governor Jay Nixon previously vetoed the bill in July, calling it “extreme and disrespectful.” Missouri’s House voted 117-44 to override the veto, and then the Senate used a procedural move to stop a Democratic filibuster of the bill and vote 23-7 to complete the veto override Wednesday.
“The only purpose of a 72-hour waiting period is to attempt to punish, shame, and demean women who have arrived at a personal decision that politicians happen to disagree with,” said the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights in a statement. “Every pregnant woman faces her own unique circumstances, challenges, and potential complications, and the right to decide whether to continue or end a pregnancy is guaranteed by the Constitution to her, not politicians who presume to know better.
Twenty-six states currently have waiting periods, typically 24 hours. When the bill goes into effect 30 days after the veto-override vote, Missouri will join South Dakota and Utah as having the longest waiting periods.
Waiting periods significantly increase the burdens women face when seeking abortions. Taking time off work, paying for child care, renting a hotel room near the clinic, or making multiple trips can be costly and time-consuming – especially in a state like Missouri with only one clinic that provides reproductive health services in the whole state.
Media Resources: Center for Reproductive Rights 9/11/14; Associated Press 9/11/14; Feminist Newswire 3/11/13, 7/8/14