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Mo. Gov. Vetoes 72-Hour Mandatory Delay Bill

Mo. Gov. Vetoes 72-Hour Mandatory Delay Bill

July 7, 2014 — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) on Wednesday vetoed a bill (HB 1307) that would have created a mandatory delay of 72 hours from when a woman first seeks an abortion until she could obtain the procedure, the AP/ABC News reports (Lieb, AP/ABC News7/2).

State Sen. David Sater (R) said he will seek a vote to override the governor's veto in September. He called abortion "an irreversible and permanent decision, and taking the time to think about the consequences is not unreasonable or a burden" (Young, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/2).

Bill Details

Under the bill, survivors of rape and incest would not have been exempt from the mandatory delay. Women with medical emergencies are exempt under the state's current 24-hour mandatory delay and would have continued to be exempt under the new legislation.

The bill, passed by the House in May, also includes a provision that would have required the state to revert to the 24-hour delay if a court struck down the 72-hour delay (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/19).

Gov. Nixon's Objections

In a statement, Nixon criticized the state Legislature's failure to add an exception for cases of rape or incest, adding that the "extreme and disrespectful measure would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women."

However, he said he would have vetoed the bill even if it included an exception for rape and incest.

Override Prospects

According to the AP/ABC News, Republicans might have the numbers to override the governor's decision. The House approved the bill 111-39 -- two votes more than would be necessary for an override. The 22-9 Senate vote was one vote shy of the supermajority needed to undo the veto.

State Rep. Kevin Elmer (R) said he is "confident" the GOP has "more than ample numbers to override the governor's veto."

The measure would have made Missouri the third state to require a 72-hour mandatory delay for abortions, following South Dakota and Utah (AP/ABC News7/2).