Missouri Waiting Period Law’s Court Hearing Delayed Until May
by Steven Ertelt
January 7, 2004
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — A judge has put off until May a hearing on a Missouri law that would require abortion practitioners to give women information about abortion dangers and alternatives at least 24 hours prior to having an abortion. Similar laws in other states have reduced the number of abortions by as much as one-third.
Senior U.S. District Judge Scott Wright set a new hearing date of May 25 for the suit against the pro-life law.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region both filed suit against the law in October. The suit came days before the law was scheduled to go into effect and Wright issued a temporary injunction.
A January 27 hearing was previously scheduled to hear the abortion advocates’ request for a permanent injunction against the law.
Wright granted Planned Parenthood’s request for the delay because the abortion business wanted more time to interview witnesses and gather information.
A representative of the Missouri Attorney General’s office filed a motion to dismiss the request for a delay, but that motion wasn’t granted. Wright overruled that motion.
Attorney General Jay Nixon, who is pro-abortion, is defending the state. He has been criticized by pro-life groups and state legislators in the past for refusing to defend a pro-life law that denied taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.
Wright has heard previous abortion lawsuits and has generally struck down pro-life laws passed by the Missouri General Assembly. However, federal courts — and even the Supreme Court — have overturned his decisions.
Women must sign an informed consent form validating that the abortion facility presented the information to them properly. Abortion practitioners who violate the law by failing to provide women with the information risk a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Planned Parenthood argues the criminal penalty section of the bill is too broad and says abortion practitioners could be fined and jailed for each abortion done in violation.
Pam Manning, president of Missouri Right to Life, said the law was drafted to comply with Supreme Court requirements and it is constitutional.
The measure also requires abortion practitioners to obtain at least $500,000 in malpractice insurance to pay damages in botched abortion cases.
The court battle could take as long as two or three years to resolve and a 1999 law banning partial-birth abortions is still tied up in court.
The state legislature approved the pro-life law on September 11 following a veto by pro-abortion Gov Bob Holden (D).
Related web sites:
Missouri Right to Life – https://www.missourilife.org