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Mo. Senate Rejects Rape, Incest Exceptions to Mandatory Delay Bill

Mo. Senate Rejects Rape, Incest Exceptions to Mandatory Delay Bill

May 7, 2014 — The Missouri Senate on Tuesday rejected a proposal that would have exempted rape and incest survivors from a bill (HB 1307/1313) that would increase the state's mandatory delay before an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (French, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/6).

In addition to extending the delay, the bill would require women seeking an abortion to watch a video with information about the procedure. Women in Missouri already are required to receive written and verbal information before abortions (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/7). Women with medical emergencies are exempt from the state's 24-hour mandatory delay (Shapiro, AP/Washington Times, 5/6).

The state Senate did not vote on the underlying bill on Tuesday. According to the Post-Dispatch, the bill was put on hold after lawmakers raised questions over the relevancy of another proposed amendment that would address sex education.

Debate Details

The state Senate rejected the exemptions in a 22-9 party line vote, with Republicans voting against the proposal and Democrats supporting it.

According to the Post-Dispatch, the exceptions were proposed by Democratic lawmakers who argued that victims of the crimes should not be forced to wait to obtain abortion care (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/6).

State Sen. Paul LeVota (D) said, "This [bill] just victimizes them further," adding, "It's just three days to further reflect and be reminded of a crime they were a victim of."

Meanwhile, bill sponsor state Sen. David Sater (R) argued that pregnancy resulting from rape should be treated as any other pregnancy. "Should the unborn child of rape have different rights and are they less important than another unborn child?" he stated (AP/Washington Times, 5/6).