VETO: Missouri lawmakers approve 72-hour wait for abortions

Missouri’s Republican-dominated Legislature voted late Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s earlier veto of a bill that institutes a 72-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion. Missouri now has the second-strictest waiting law in the US.

The Republican-led Missouri House and Senate overrode the Democratic governor during a special veto session at the state capitol, as both chambers voted down party lines to achieve a two-thirds majority required to enact the legislation.

Missouri Capitol.(AFP Photo / Orlin Wagner)
Missouri Capitol.(AFP Photo / Orlin Wagner)

The law triples the state’s mandated waiting period following consultation with a doctor regarding the abortion procedure. Missouri requires doctors to also share any potential long-term consequences of the procedure, descriptions of gestational development of a fetus and material that claims life begins at conception. Women are also required to hear of adoption alternatives or other services that can help them carry the fetus to term.

The law has no exceptions for rape or incest, as Utah’s 72-hour waiting-period law does. Gov. Nixon said he vetoed the bill because it is “extreme and disrespectful” to women to not exempt instances of rape or incest.

The sponsor of the House bill said Wednesday that a fetus conceived from rape or incest deserves protections.

“Incest and rape, those are tragic, tragic events and the men that commit those atrocities should be punished to the full extent of the law,” Rep. Kevin Elmer, a Republican, said. “Sometimes I think that they should be put to death. We have innocent life here. It is not as important, according to the governor’s veto.”

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