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Bill Mandating 72-Hour Delay Before Abortions Heads to Mo. Gov.

Bill Mandating 72-Hour Delay Before Abortions Heads to Mo. Gov.

May 15, 2014 — The Missouri House on Wednesday passed legislation (HB 1307/1313) that would increase the state's mandatory delay period before an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours, the AP/Washington Times reports. The bill now proceeds to Gov. Jay Nixon (D) for consideration (AP/Washington Times, 5/14).

The state Senate passed the measure earlier this week, after dropping a provision that would have required the state to create a video with information about abortion that women would have had to watch prior to the procedure. Women in Missouri already are required to receive written and verbal information before abortions (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/13).

Survivors of rape and incest are not exempt from the mandatory delay. However, women with medical emergencies are exempt under the state's current 24-hour mandatory delay and the new legislation.

The bill also includes a provision that would require the state to revert to the 24-hour delay if a court strikes down the 72-hour delay.


Nixon on Tuesday said he would review the bill and act in accordance with his previous actions on abortion-related legislation. According to the AP/Times, Nixon has allowed previous abortion restrictions to take effect without his signature (AP/Washington Times, 5/14).

Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards said that Nixon "must veto this bill and stand firmly with a woman's right to make her own private medical decisions, including the decision of whether to have an abortion, in consultation with her doctor."

Meanwhile, state Rep. Kevin Elmer (R), the bill's sponsor, argued that the measure does not deny "the mother her rights, but simply ask[s] her to give more thought before making a decision that she may later regret" (Karimi/Feldman, CNN, 5/15).