Missouri Abortion Activists Won’t Challenge 72-Hour Waiting Period on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 6, 2014   |   11:20AM   |   Jefferson City, MO

Missouri abortion advocates threw a massive temper tantrum about how horrific conditions would be for women wanting abortions if the state legislature overturned Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a pro-life bill for a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion. The legislature overrode the veto and now abortion advocates in Missouri say they will not file a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law.

The pro-life law, which will help women have more time to consider the implications of abortion and to obtain alternatives, is set to go into effect this week. Waiting periods have been proven to help reduce abortions and provide additional support for pregnant women.

Pam Fichter of Missouri Right to Life told LifeNews she is happy about the development.

“Missouri Right to Life looks forward to the October 10th implementation of the 72-hour reflection period for women considering an abortion,” she said. “We know that when mothers have the time to review all of their options, they are more likely to choose life for their unborn child.  Missouri is blessed with many organizations seeking to help women in crisis pregnancies.”

Fichter added: “The additional time allowed by this law provides opportunities for mothers to seek the assistance they need to bring a healthy baby into the world.  Missouri Right to Life again thanks the Missouri legislators who worked and supported the passage of this legislation and to all those who voted to override Governor Nixon’s veto. This legislation will save many lives and will maintain Missouri’s position as one of the most pro-life states in the country.”

As AP reports:

missouri2A new Missouri law requiring a 72-hour abortion waiting period is set to take effect this week, and the state’s only licensed abortion clinic isn’t planning to try to stop it.

Although Planned Parenthood officials have denounced the Missouri law as “onerous” and “burdensome” for women, the organization isn’t planning to file a lawsuit before the measure takes effect Friday. That’s because abortion-rights groups have determined that their chances of success aren’t that good.

“We’ve had our national attorneys from all of the leading women’s health organizations in the country work with us, and we have a consensus that we do not have a route at this time to go to court and to stop this law from going into effect — as disappointing and as frustrating as that is,” said Paula Gianino, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

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An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged other abortion laws, said it also has no plans to try to block the Missouri law from taking effect.

Missouri’s law will impose the second longest abortion waiting period in the nation behind only South Dakota, where the 72-hour period can sometimes extend longer because it doesn’t count weekends and holidays. Utah also has a 72-hour requirement, but unlike Missouri, Utah allows exceptions for rape, incest and other circumstances.

Utah’s law has not been challenged in court.

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.

Nixon 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.”

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. ”