Abortion Wait Time

   A new Missouri state law requiring women to wait 72 hours to have an abortion after their initial consultation is set to take effect Friday, and the state’s only abortion provider says it will not immediately appeal the measure in court.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, Paula Gianino, said attorneys for their national organization did not think an appeal would be successful in state or federal court.

(Updated 12:15 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11)

The Missouri General Assembly has made the state the third in the country to require a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion, after the state Senate killed off a filibuster.

The Senate voted 23-7 – along party lines -- to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the bill, but only after deploying a procedural action that it hadn’t used in seven years to end a Democratic filibuster that had gone on for about two hours.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones says extending the abortion waiting period to “a mere 72 hours” is not excessive when considering the sanctity of life.

His speech Monday at the Springfield Pregnancy Care Center comes two days before lawmakers are set to convene for its annual veto session at the state capitol. He was joined Monday by Republican representatives Kevin Elmer, Eric Burlison and Sonya Anderson. 

If passed, the wait period would become the second most stringent in the nation.                  

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 2)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have tripled the state’s waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, saying it reflected  “a callous disregard for women who find themselves in horrific circumstances.”

The governor noted in Wednesday’s veto message that the bill, HB 1307, had no exceptions for rape or incest.

“This extreme and disrespectful measure would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women,” Nixon said Wednesday.

Bobby and Christie Clark share a late afternoon snack of frozen chicken fingers inside their Sedalia, Mo., home on Monday, April 21, 2014. Christie and her two kids receive food stamps, but Missouri denies Bobby access because of his drug felony. Missouri
Ryan Levi and Mary Kate Metivier / KBIA

Missouri lawmakers are scrambling this week to finalize and pass legislation before the end of the legislative session on Friday, May 16.

As Missouri senators and representatives put the finishing touches on their work, we took a look at some of the biggest bills this legislative session. This edition of Talking Politics looks into the abortion wait-time bill, the student transfer bill and the override of Nixon's veto on an income tax decrease.


state capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Republicans in the Missouri Senate succeeded in passing two of their top priorities early Tuesday morning.

Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

Missouri's Republican-led Senate has defeated a rape and incest exemption to the state's abortion waiting period.

Abortion wait times interactive map
Andrew Gibson, KBIA-FM

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.