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Gov. Nixon Vetoes Abortion Bill, Missouri Women Escape Three-Day Waiting Period

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Courtesy of the Governor's Office
Governor Nixon vetoed an abortion bill he called "insulting to women."
Missouri governor Jay Nixon didn't mince words in his Wednesday veto of a mandated 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

The waiting period "serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women who have undoubtedly already spent considerable time wrestling with perhaps the most difficult decision they may ever have to make," wrote Nixon, delivering one of several gubernatorial face-slaps to the conservative-dominated legislature that passed the bill in May.

Nixon's three-page takedown of the bill (which you can read after the jump) immediately drew national media attention for its unequivocally blunt language, but there's something else worth noting: His arguments against the waiting period mirror those of Missouri women who've spent years fighting the same "misguided paternalism" Nixon derided in the veto message.

See also: As Legislature Debates Health Care, Voter ID, Politician Asks: Just How Dumb Are Women?

"Governor Nixon understands this bill it for what it is, which is dangerous and bad for Missouri women," says M'Evie Mead, director of statewide organizing for Planned Parenthood in Missouri, which operates the state's only abortion facility in the Central West End. "It's a much needed statement of protection for women's health after a couple tough Supreme Court rulings this week."

Mead is referring to this week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that corporations like Hobby Lobby can refuse to pay for for contraceptive health care on religious grounds, a decision that certainly pleased Missouri's religiously inclined D.C. representatives.

But yesterday's veto showed that common sense may still exist. Nixon broke down his reasoning into three main points:

First, Missouri already mandates a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion. During a required in-person doctor's visit, women are also subjected to verbal and printed information about the physical development of a fetus and the pain the fetus will suffer during the abortion, which is actually a highly complex and disputed subject in medical science. The current law also says women must be given printed materials prominently stating that life begins at conception and that "Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being."

But for Nixon, the bill's most telling flaw is that it provides no exception for victims of incest and rape. If the bill were to become law, Missouri would join South Dakota as the only state to employ such a blanket policy on women seeking abortions. On this point, Nixon lowers the boom with full force:

This glaring omission is wholly insensitive to women who find themselves in horrific circumstances, and demonstrates a callous disregard for their wellbeing. It victimizes these women by prolonging their nightmare...Underlying this bill, and the expansion of the governmental interference it would it would mandate, is a paternalistic presumption that rape and incest victims are somehow unable to grasp the horror that has befallen them, and that government must force them to take more time to come to grips with their plight.

See also: Gov. Nixon Criticizes Abortion Bill for Not Protecting Rape, Incest Victims

However, an exception for rape and incest victims wouldn't have put the bill in Nixon's good graces. His final point is the same one that women have been shouting from the rooftops all year: At its core, the bill presumes women are stupid, flippant and frivolous with their bodies and "are unable to make up their own minds without further government intervention."

"This is insulting to women," Nixon writes, "particularly in light of what the law already requires."

Yet, Nixon hasn't killed this bill permanently. It can still become law if legislators can muster the votes to override the veto during the September veto session. The bill was easily passed by both the House and Senate in May.

"This is an irreversible and permanent decision, and taking the time to think about the consequences is not unreasonable or a burden," says Republican senator David Sater in a statement. He's vowed to fight the governor's veto. "I firmly believe that most Missourians do not think three days is too much time to decide whether to bring a child into this world."

Continue to read the full text of Nixon's veto message.


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27 comments
Carol Fortune Quigley Young
Carol Fortune Quigley Young

thank you,women do not need state or federal gov'ts or any other group deciding their medical decisions,all they need is their doctor and confidentiality

Noah Leitch
Noah Leitch

I wonder what ever happened to the seperation of church and state. Good for Nixon though using common sense to veto s bill that has none.

Jim Phillips
Jim Phillips

If it were not for Nixon, the A.L.E.C and the John Bircher's would have Missouri ruined already.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Credit where credit is do. Good job Mr. Nixon.

Erik Olsen
Erik Olsen

So, the folks that want to add laws against abortion are also the ones who complain about government getting into folks' lives. Yeah, that makes a LOT of sense. No 'cooling off' times for any rights in Missouri. I'd love it if abortions were never needed. I know that is not the case and know that I live in a state that is moving away from Authoritarianism. DOMA and anti-pot Amendments are doomed and armed self defense will get expanded after the Proposition passes.

Dawn Rednour
Dawn Rednour

All of u pro choice bitches who get knocked up&then abort cz ur"jus not ready for a baby"need to get ur twats fixed! From day one of conception its a living being.For u to end that life is MURDER. No other way too see it. U should ie along with the life u kill.This is coming from me,a non religious person. I dont even believe in my life or the baby in medical situations..id give my life to save my baby.So all u self rightous ppl stfu and use a fucking condom&spermacide!!

Mark E. McDaniel
Mark E. McDaniel

Legislature veto session at the end of summer. Unfortunately, this story may have yet another chapter.

Tom Diveley
Tom Diveley

Thanks alot Jay... Exactly why he got my vote.

Scooter Von Donaken
Scooter Von Donaken

Call your Reps and let them know how you feel. Send them postcards. Call their offices.

John Zilch
John Zilch

Thankfully we have Jay Nixon to protect the citizens of MO from the heinous stupidity of the GoP in this state. The Christian Taliban has no place in the legislature and should be squashed like a bug at every opportunity.

Kristy Lytle
Kristy Lytle

Don't like abortion? Don't get one. It's not murder as a fetus isn't legally considered a person until it is born and takes a breath. Besides that, most abortions take place before the first 10 weeks when it's really just a bunch of cells. It is absolutely no different than a parasite at that stage... and one that can kill the mother. Abortion is SAFER than childbirth and pregnancy. It is the woman's choice and it is her right to make that choice without interference.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

Scott Shoemaker - the day you can get pregnant is the day you get an opinion on the matter.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

Its about time SOMEONE gets it.  Its not up to a bunch of men to decide what women do with their own bodies, nor is it up to the community to decide what procedures they can have.  Its not their business what someone else does with themselves.

Get off your high horse and start worrying about your OWN business instead of worrying about everyone elses.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

This is from a liberal woman. Sad but true. As long as that "life" needs to be inside me, sucking nutrients from my body, to live, it is not a "person", it is a parasite. (Organic science, 101). If I choose to rid my body of a parasite, that is MY decision. There should be no legislation on that. Once that "life" can live outside my body, it is a life and should be reasonably protected under law, while still taking my personal freedom into account.

Kristy Lytle
Kristy Lytle

I wish the GOP would just go extinct already... how are there any younger generations buying into their crap, I'll never understand. Most people aren't rich enough to vote R

Justin Gibson
Justin Gibson

Kudos to Gov. Nixon for putting the veto stamp on that heinous anti-women HB1307 bill. However, given that the GOP has supermajority control in the Missouri House and Senate, sadly it will likely be veto overridden.

rockymissouri1
rockymissouri1

You have no right to tell someone else what to do...and vice versa...!!

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