In March, the Missouri House approved a bill that would extend the state's abortion waiting time to 72 hours from 24 hours. If the measure, HB 1307, becomes law, it would put Missouri in company with South Dakota and Utah as the only states with a 72-hour waiting period.
Proponents of the bill, argue 72 hours is not too much to wait to receive such a procedure.
“I don’t think 72 hours, 3 days is too much time to bring another life into this world or not," said Tim Jones, Missouri Republican Speaker of the House. Elizabeth Nash, State Issues Manager at the Guttmacher Institute, said it is too much to ask.
Missouri has just one abortion service provider in St. Louis after Planned Parenthood of Mid-Missouri lost their doctor, who could perform abortions, in 2011. Having just one location where women may receive abortion care, Nash argues the 72-hour wait time would exacerbate the logistical burden on women who need to travel for abortion services, such as travel, day care, housing and taking off work.
"It is probably not going to sway a woman or affect her decision-making, but it can impact her ability to access abortion care entirely," said Nash.
This interactive map shows the abortion waiting time for each state. The information comes from the Guttmacher Institute, which defines the waiting period as the amount of time a woman must wait "between the counseling and the abortion procedure." Thirty-five states require counseling before the procedure, according to the institute. The information was last updated April 1.
The map also shows whether states require "that counseling be provided in person and that the counseling take place before the waiting period begins, thereby necessitating two separate trips to the facility," according to the institute.
Additionally, it shows whether women are informed during counseling of the opinion that personhood begins at conception.
Missouri Senate Minority Leader, Jolie Justus, fought legislation for her eight years as senator that puts more regulation on abortion service providers. Although she said this type of anti-abortion legislation is not new, it seems likely that this particular bill will pass this year. Justus said she does not have much negotiating power on this topic.
"I've been told by the Republican majority in the Senate that the 72-hour waiting period is a bill that they will pass this year," Justus said last week. "I have been told that this is something that even if they have to use extraordinary measures to stop our filibusters that they are going to pass this bill this year." Justus still holds out hope for a veto from Governor Nixon, if the bill does pass, even as a Senate veto override could be likely. If that's the case, she said opponents will have to try to look for unconstitutionality, arguing the 72-hour wait time places on an "undue burden" on the women.
HB 1307 has passed out of Senate committee.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that HB 1307 was still in Senate committee.