Missouri Overrides Governor’s Veto of 72-Hour Waiting Period on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 11, 2014   |   10:17AM   |   Washington, DC

In a huge victory for pro-life groups, the Missouri state legislature yesterday overrode Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a pro-life bill for a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion. Waiting periods have historically given women more time to find abortion alternatives and have saved babies from abortions.

Earlier this year the Missouri legislature passed a bill that would give women more time before making the irreversible and tragic choice to end the life of their unborn child. The legislation, HB 1307, would extend the current 24-hour waiting period before an abortion to 72 hours. However, after the legislation passed both chambers, Missouri’s pro-abortion governor, Jay Nixon, vetoed the bill.

missouri3Nixon told the Washington Times that “Lengthening the already extensive 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.”

Although the governor believes that waiting periods are unnecessary, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kevin Elmer, said, “It’s kind of an emotional period and this is just kind of an opportunity to let the mother and those that she may consult in her family and extended friends to have more time to consider the severity of the decision that she’s about to embark upon where she terminates the life of that child.”

House Bill 1307 will require women to wait 72 hours after consulting an abortion practitioner before having an abortion, triple the current wait time of 24 hours and putting in place one of the longest waiting periods in the country.

The House overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto about 9:20 p.m. Wednesday by a vote of 117-44; the bill went straight to the Senate where the debate continued for about two hours. Around 11:30 p.m., Republicans invoked a PQ, or moving the previous question, which allows a simple majority of senators to end a filibuster. The PQ passed, and then senators overrode the veto by the slimmest of margins, 23-7. An override of the veto required a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers.

Pam Fichter, President of Missouri Right to Life, told LifeNews she was delighted by the vote.

“Late in the evening on September 10, the Missouri legislature gave final approval to override Governor Nixon’s veto of two very important pro-life bills and one line item veto of a budget increase for Missouri’s Alternatives to Abortion Program. To shut down the filibuster by pro-abortion senators the senate used the rare procedural maneuver of calling for the previous question,” Fichter said. “HB 1307 increases the time of reflection after counseling before an abortion can be performed from 24 hours to 72 hours. This reflection time gives a women time to contemplate her situation, research information about the dangers and consequences of abortion and review the help and resources that are available to her through the alternatives to abortion program and other sources.”

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Fichter continued: “HB 1132 increases the maximum funding available for pregnancy resource centers through tax credits. As abortions continue to decrease, see chart here, more and more women are choosing life and are in need of help and services. This increase in available funds for tax credits will help provide those services.”

“These bills work together to protect the women of Missouri and ensure that in this matter of life and death, they don’t make a decision that will have a detrimental effect on them both physically and emotionally. Pro-lifers across Missouri are so thankful and pleased that these bills are going into effect,” Fichter added. “We thank the sponsors of these bills. We thank all the legislators who voted for these bills and these overrides. We are especially grateful to the Speaker of the House, Tim Jones and President Pro Tem of the Senate, Tom Dempsey. ”

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