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Mandatory Delays Treat Women as 'Incapable of Making Decisions' About Abortion, Op-Ed Argues

Mandatory Delays Treat Women as 'Incapable of Making Decisions' About Abortion, Op-Ed Argues

September 17, 2014 — When the Missouri Legislature overrode Gov. Jay Nixon's (D) veto of a bill (HR 1307) that mandates a 72-hour delay before a woman can obtain an abortion, it was "a particularly good illustration of how needless abortion regulations treat women as second-class citizens who are incapable of making decisions for themselves," Scott Lemieux, a political science professor at the College of Saint Rose, writes in an opinion piece in The Week.

Mandatory delay periods "do nothing to make the abortion procedure safer," and they "disproportionately affect the most vulnerable women," he argues. A delay might be a "manageable annoyance for women in urban areas with flexible work schedules," he explains, "but for women who have to travel long distances to obtain an abortion, the burden imposed is substantial, indeed."

Such a law "is inconsistent both with a woman's reproductive freedom and her right to the equal protection of the laws" because it "constitutes an 'undue burden' in every possible sense," Lemieux argues (Lemieux, The Week, 9/16).