Mo. Medication Abortion Bill Becomes Law After Gov. Declines To Act

July 16, 2013 — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) on Friday allowed a measure (HB 400) regulating medication abortion to become law without his signature, Reuters reports.

The law requires a physician to be present when a woman takes an abortion-inducing drug (Murphy, Reuters, 7/12). It will take effect on Aug. 28 (Blank, AP/Modern Healthcare, 7/13).

Normally, a woman takes the first drug used for a medication abortion during her visit with the clinician and takes the second drug at home within 24 to 48 hours.

The bill also would require a physician or someone acting on his or her behalf to make a reasonable effort to ensure the woman comes back for a follow-up visit unless it has been confirmed that she is no longer pregnant (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/15).

Nixon on Friday said he would neither sign nor veto the legislation, remarking only that the Republican-controlled Legislature had overwhelmingly passed the bill and that his administration had to focus on other bills.


Paula Gianino, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwestern Missouri, said the law "is simply another way for anti-choice legislators to stop the expansion of abortion, continuing to put burdens on women -- particularly women in our state who have to travel very long distances to have access to abortion services in Missouri." Gianino added that 20% of women seeking an abortion at PPSLR had to travel over 100 miles to do so (AP/Modern Healthcare, 7/13).

According to Elizabeth Nash -- states issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute -- Missouri is one of 11 states that have passed similar legislation. She noted that litigation has put the laws on hold in North Dakota and Wisconsin (Reuters, 7/12).