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Mo. Advances Bill To Triple Mandatory Delay Before Abortions

Mo. Advances Bill To Triple Mandatory Delay Before Abortions

May 13, 2014 — The Missouri Senate on Tuesday passed a measure (HB 1307/1313) that would extend the state's mandatory delay before obtaining an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (French, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/13).

The state Senate last week rejected a proposal that would have exempted rape and incest survivors from the bill (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/7). On Tuesday, lawmakers also rejected 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 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/13).

Women in Missouri already are required to receive written and verbal information before abortions. Women with medical emergencies are exempt from the state's 24-hour mandatory delay (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/7).

The bill now returns to the state House for another vote. The House previously voted 115-39 to approve the earlier version of the bill that included the video requirement, the Post-Dispatch reports.

If the bill becomes law, Missouri will join Utah and South Dakota as the only states with 72-hour mandatory delays. In total, 26 states require a mandatory delay of some length, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Senate Filibuster

The state Senate passed the measure in a 22-9 vote after Democrats filibustered the measure for two hours. Senate Republicans conferred for an additional 40 minutes, and when they returned to the floor for debate on the measure, Democrats yielded. The bill passed shortly after midnight.

Meanwhile, abortion-rights supporters outside the chamber conducted a symbolic filibuster, committing to stay from 2 p.m. on Monday until 72 hours had passed.

Debate

State Sen. John Lamping (R) compared the mandatory delay to the process of state execution, saying that both processes involved the "extraordinary" decision to end a life.

He added, "My hope would be that, yes, this bill would reduce the number of abortions because the woman would come to realize in that 48 hours that yes, it's a life she's taking and decide not to do that."

Meanwhile, opponents argued that the measure would impose an "undue burden" on women, particularly those with low incomes who would have to travel substantial distances to access abortion care with a three-day wait. There is only one abortion clinic in Missouri, a Planned Parenthood facility in St. Louis, according to the Post-Dispatch.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) said the bill would not "make one difference in terms of stopping abortions," adding, "Men always ... introduce bills that attack women" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/13).