After more than an hour of emotional – and often loud – debate, the Missouri House voted to send to the governor a bill that would triple Missouri’s waiting period for abortions to 72 hours from 24 hours.
If approved by Gov. Jay Nixon, the measure would make Missouri only the third state in the nation to mandate a 72-hour wait – and possibly set the stage for a legal challenge.
The issue of abortion in Missouri seems like old news. But it's an issue that remains very much at the forefront of Missouri politics this year. In this year's legislative session, there are over thirty pieces of legislation touching the issue.
Political activist Alveda King, the niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, spoke at MU on Monday about what she considers to be the twenty-first century’s civil rights movement – the movement against abortion.
King said she’s been part of the anti-abortion movement since conception – she just didn’t know it yet. Her mother originally wanted to abort her.
“And my grandfather stepped up and said that he had seen me in a dream three years before, and my mother could not abort me because I was going to bless people,” King said.
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.
Listen to this week's of edition of Talking Politics, and Meredith Turk's report on abortion legislation in Missouri:
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.
Missouri women would have to wait 72 hours after seeing a doctor before an abortion could be performed under legislation being considered by the House Health Care Policy Committee.
The panel heard testimony from supporters Wednesday on how the bill would give women more time to think before terminating a pregnancy. Opponents argued the measure would just be a logistical delay designed to push women further into pregnancy before having an abortion, which can increase risk.
A Missouri senator is proposing legislation that would require a 72-hour wait before an abortion.
The state currently has a 24-hour informed consent law. Republican David Sater of Cassville says extending that period would provide additional time for reflection. He said he hopes it would reduce the number of abortions.
The legislation has been proposed for the 2014 legislative session starting January 8th.
Opponents contend a longer waiting period would not decrease the number of abortions but simply cause them to happen later in pregnancy, which can increase risk.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is considering legislation that would require doctors to be in the room for the initial dose of a drug used in medication abortions.
The Republican-led Legislature approved the measure this year. Supporters say the requirement would prohibit abortions using telemedicine and protect a woman's health and safety by ensuring the prescribing physician is present. Critics, however, say the process is safe and that the legislation is a further effort to restrict access to abortion services in Missouri.
New legislation pending before Gov. Jay Nixon could give people running short of money a new alternative for getting some quick cash.
A bill would make it profitable for Missouri-based banks to offer short-term cash advances, similar to payday loans.
Some nationally chartered banks already offer the short-term loans with fees of around $50 on a $500 loan. Missouri law had allowed such loans, but the Missouri Bankers Association says that few banks offered them because the law set the maximum fee too low.
The Missouri House has endorsed legislation requiring the prescribing doctor to be present when a woman takes any drug to induce an abortion.
The bill received first-round approval 119-41 on Wednesday. It needs another vote to move to the Senate. Sponsoring House member Jeannie Riddle, a Republican from Mokane, says the legislation is intended to protect women's health and safety. Opponents said the goal appears to be more restriction of abortion.\