JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Just hours after a rally from Missouri Right to Life, Republican lawmakers in the House gave overwhelming final approval to two pieces of legislation aimed at restricting abortion access across the state.
HB 1307, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa, would triple the mandatory waiting period for abortions from 24 hours to 72 hours. Elmer said his bill was aimed at helping women make better decisions more deliberately and protecting life. Opponents said the bill created an arbitrary and potential dangerous burden for women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
“This isn’t a gender issue; it’s a life issue,” Elmer said on the floor. “Have you ever, in your life, been in a situation where you wish you had made a decision faster and with less thought? I doubt it.”
Democrats on the floor who objected said that the measure would make it “almost impossible” for some Missourians to get an abortion. Currently, the state only has one location that provides abortions, which is located in downtown St. Louis.
Adding a mandatory three-day wait between a consultation and procedure, Democrats said, would make it much harder for working women or students from outside of the city to receive treatment.
A second bill, HB 1192, sponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller, R-Osage Beach, would require both guardians or custodial parents of a minor to be notified before an abortion is performed. Currently, state law only requires notification of one custodial parent or guardian.
Debate became more tense when Republican lawmakers accused pro-choice Democrats of treating children like property. Democrats responded that new restrictions on women’s medical procedures were an intrusion into their individual liberty.
Both bills passed with veto-proof majorities and now head to the Senate, where they are likely to face a much higher uphill climb. Gov. Jay Nixon has given no indication on whether he will veto either bill.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.