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Missouri Senate Passes 72-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions

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The House has until 6 p.m. Friday to pass the extended waiting period for women seeking abortions.
With only four days left in the legislative session, state senators took Missouri a step closer to tripling the mandated waiting period for women seeking abortions.

The Senate passed a bill 22-9 early Tuesday morning that would require a woman to wait 72 hours after seeing a doctor before she could terminate her pregnancy. Missouri already requires women to wait 24 hours, and only Utah and South Dakota require women to wait three days.

See also: Planned Parenthood: "40 Days For Life" Anti-Abortion Protesters Are Harassing Our Patients

Lawmakers have until 6 p.m. Friday to make the extended waiting period final. If the House doesn't take a vote by the weekend, they'll have to start over after the summer.

Women already jump through several hoops to obtain an abortion in Missouri, where the only legal clinic is a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis' Central West End. State law requires women to receive counseling information, sign a consent form declaring their decision to end the pregnancy is free and voluntary, and wait 24 hours.

Planned Parenthood and other abortion-rights advocates say waiting periods only force women to go further into unwanted pregnancies, increasing the risk of unnecessary complications. Longer waiting periods also make getting an abortion more complicated for women who have to take time off work or arrange childcare to travel to Missouri's only abortion clinic.

"I don't think it would make one difference in terms of stopping abortions," Senator Jamilah Nasheed tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Men always step up to the plate and introduce bills that attack women."

Bills targeting women's bodies have been a running theme of this year's legislative session, so much so that Representative Stacey Newman brought a knitted uterus to the floor during debates.


In addition to longer waiting periods before abortions, the legislature has pushed bills to tighten requirements on mandatory ultrasounds, require dual parent consent for minors seeking abortions and to insulate pregnancy resource centers -- which often counsel pregnant women against abortion or leave the option out entirely -- from regulation.

See also: Not Even Stacey Newman's Knitted Uterus Can Halt MO Anti-Abortion Bills

As the Senate passed the bill in an early-morning session, abortion-rights advocates held a 72-hour vigil in protest.

"Missourians have been organizing for months against this dangerous and misguided agenda -- hundreds rallied last month at the Lobby Day for Women's Health, and thousands more have called and emailed their legislators," says Ryann Summerford, the statewide government affairs manager at Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri. "Now women and men from across the state are speaking out for women's health and safety on the steps of the capitol -- to ensure our voices are heard.

"Missourians agree that we are all are better off when personal medical decisions are left to a woman, her family, her faith and her doctor -- without interference from politicians."

Earlier this year, on the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in America, a University of Missouri student tried to illustrate how extended waiting periods affect women by waiting 72 hours to testify against it.

See also: 72 Hours Later: How a Mizzou Student Turned Waiting into an Abortion Rights Protest

"I would like you to be able to trust in my opinions," Dina van der Zalm told the legislative committee. "Since this bill...makes the assumption that women are not capable of making difficult decisions without the aid of politicians requiring additional time -- an additional three days -- to really think it through, then I can only assume that you're not going to legitimately listen [to] or value the opinions I would like to state today."

Here's her testimony:

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


My Voice Nation Help
92 comments
Zepel Anderson
Zepel Anderson

Deal with it??? Uh, no...why don't you deal with the fact that abortion is murder???

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

In the cases of rape , incest and life of the mother then yes the mother has to choose. This's are the only exceptions.

Aaron Gershman
Aaron Gershman

Everybody just stop. Shut up. Hush. Sshhhhhhhhhh. SHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhh. Stop talking.

Melissa Rodriguez
Melissa Rodriguez

Yes and those pills don't always work, and THANK GOD they didn't. Abortion is not a choice for me but as a rape victim I understand both sides. I do not judge any person that has had an abortion bc that is not a Christian way to be.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Many women who have irregular periods, may not even know they are pregnant until 8-12 weeks. Very important on how termination must take place.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

When you have been raped. You have three days to take plan b- it's also offered when undergoing the rape kit by a doctor. Now- knowing you are pregnant at let's say, 8-13weeks... 3 days makes a HUGE difference.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Travel time, unnecessary costs, stress of the woman and those without access to a vehicle or public transportation. Knowing you're pregnant is time enough to decide. Making a woman wait another 3 days, undergo ultrasound as well as two forms of pregnancy testing. That's why this is ludicrous.

Melissa Rodriguez
Melissa Rodriguez

As a person who has been faced with the choice of abortion due to a rape, I believe having some time to think about having an abortion is good. When faced with a tragic event, it's best not to jump to a decision. Personally, I do not believe in abortion for my self and I'm more than happy to share my views with others, but each person has to make their own choices. Personally, why does waiting 72 hours matter, bc if the person really wants an abortion they will get it. Abortion is not something that should be done on quick whim. Abortion is not like a whim purchase, bc once it is done there is no going back. But again, a person has a right to make their own choices. I don't have to agree with them.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

So, you Scott- are against contraception, std testing and education at a reduced rate for men and women?

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Wrong again!!! Planned parenthood is given subsidies by the federal government for Education, std and cancer screening and family planning (contraception). Abortion services are paid 100% by the person receiving the service. It is not "free" to terminate a pregnancy. I really do not understand the complete lack of information and education on this! By law- planned parenthood can not perform abortions without FULL payment coming from the patient. My goodness you are so mislead. http://www.factcheck.org/2011/04/planned-parenthood/

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

So, that is roughly 400,000 abortions per year. And how many of those are due to illness, rape, incest or fetal disease?

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Every 90 seconds? I did not know that. Can you post the source of this information?

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

You have about three one liners. lol It's not liberal logicA it's called truth. Murder by definition in law- does not apply to a fetus. Again- is protected by the law for women to have that choice.That is not an opinion. It is a fact.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Laws change. The fact that life is killed is fact. Murder is murder. Call it what you want. It doesn't change the fact that what was alive is now dead. PPH is tax payer funded. At PPH alone a child is murdered every 90 seconds in America. It doesn't matter how many PPH centers provide murder it's the fact that they do. You would like me to support that and fund it. Somehow this makes me bad. "Liberal logic " the true oxymoron.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Obviously you are a religious person. You will have to answer to your deity (god) for telling someone to shoot and kill themselves. Way to go on the hypocrisy. Scott- your so passionate about pregnancy, yet you tell me to kill myself. Makes no sense. You're on a watch list now for potential violence of doctors and patients who perform or receive abortions. Your face (pic) will be distributed to the proper sources. You crossed a legal line there.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

A pro life supporter, Scott? You're violent.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

It's not a agree or disagree! Your opinion that it's murder is not logical, medically recognized or LEGALLY correct. So your opinion is not valid. Saying it's murder is an opinion- fact remains, it's a legal, medical procedure protected under the 14th amendment to the constitution. Scott- you need help. The delusions you believe are not facts.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Furthermore- Teanna- only one Planned Parenthood clinic in the state of Missouri "performs" abortion services. Sorry sweetie- it's true. They give referrals to medical centers for women who want to continue with a pregnancy- AND refer to other medical centers that can provide termination services. Again- the ONLY location of PP that has on site abortion services is Forest Park clinic in St.LOUIS. http://m.plannedparenthood.org/mt/www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/findCenter.asp?s=MO

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

What an intelligent response. Telling me to kill myself. That's a completely rational thing to say. Your obsession over gay AND women's rights- signs of sociopathic behavior. I would think you being so "pro-life" that you would never incite a person killing themselves. You make absolutely no sense.

Christeen Menchak
Christeen Menchak

I'll preach about abortion being murder...but then tell you to put a bullet in your head..rational thinking there.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Kelle One day you will answer to your God. Until then you have a right to your opinion yet you demonize those you disagree. Very liberal of you.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Being responsible for ones actions is wrong ? Just put a bullet in your head. Thank you

Teanna Blair Maddox
Teanna Blair Maddox

Kelle Deyne there is no changing your mind and certainly no changing mine. u live with your sins and i will live with mine. how morbid your rationalizations are...comparing a BABY to a robber, murderer, and parasite. seriously, demented...and check your stats on PP- u r way off.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Are you also opposed to using weapons to kill anyone in a robbery? War? Self defense? You can't pick and choose what life to protect. If your position is pro life- then is that correct? You oppose use of any deadly force to kill a human?

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Scott- so is the death penalty and execution. Are you against that? It's also paid for by tax dollars.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

How about miscarriages? Would it be considered second or third degree murder? Negligent homicide? Please do tell how that would all go down- if what you say/believe to be true.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

How would you feel about death benefits and life insurance on fetuses?

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

It's called the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Malcom Bliss? What era are you living in? It has been closed for over 20 years. Closed in 1991. It is now, however a STATE ran 50 bed hospital --Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center--run by the government to provide people who suffer with psychiatric medical conditions. It's highly offensive to condemn someone by mocking a crucial medical condition.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Scott- you are really obsessed with the workings of vaginas and the penis. And who puts what genitalia in what orifice. Seems you need to get a handle on these obsessions. One would assume you need a full 72 hour psych evaluation. It's rather disturbing.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

It's not a baby. Says who? Says the entire medical and science world.

Zepel Anderson
Zepel Anderson

Anna: book a room @ Malcolm Bliss and stay there for the rest of your life..

Zepel Anderson
Zepel Anderson

I find it comical that the same people who cry 'what happens in my body is not the govt business' are the same ones supporting obamacare. .

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Anna good thing your mother didn't have your views eh ?

Teanna Blair Maddox
Teanna Blair Maddox

Anna Probst, that is indeed the most erratic and delusional comment... anyone that calls a baby a parasite is simply making excuses ...trying to rationalize and justify murder...such a sick world we live in. abstinence...adoption...btw...or maybe just being an adult and taking responsibility for our actions...

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