News Column

Missouri Gov. Nixon Vetoes 72-Hour Abortion Wait

July 2, 2014

Virginia Young, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

July 02--JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed a bill that would have required a 72-hour waiting period for abortions in Missouri.

Nixon, who cited the bill's lack of an exception for victims of rape and incest, said the measure was "disrespectful" and would jeopardize the health and well-being of women.

"Underlying this bill, and the expansion of the governmental interference it would mandate, is a paternalistic presumption that rape and incest victims are somehow unable to grasp the horror that has befallen them, and that government must force them to take more time to come to grips with their plight," the Democratic governor said in his veto message. "That misplaced paternalism defies logic."

The measure would have made Missouri just the third state nationally to require a 72-hour waiting period, along with South Dakota and Utah. Utah's law includes an exception for victims of rape and incest, and people under age 14.

Missouri currently requires a 24-hour wait between when a woman consults a physician and receives an abortion.

Bill handler Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, expressed disappointment with the veto and vowed to seek to override it at the Legislature's veto session in September.

Abortion "is an an irreversible and permanent decision, and taking the time to think about the consequences is not unreasonable or a burden," Sater said in a statement.

Abortion rights supporters praised the governor's veto. The bill would "block access to safe, legal abortion and make it more difficult for women to get the care they need," said Paula Gianino, president of the political arm of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

Overriding a veto requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Missouri Legislature.

In the Senate, 23 votes would be needed. In May, the Senate passed the bill on a party-line vote of 22-9, with all Republicans present supporting it and all Democrats opposing it.

One member -- Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville -- was absent. The Senate has two vacancies.

The House passed the bill on a vote of 111-39, more than the 109 needed for an override.

(The bill is HB1307)


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Original headline: Nixon vetoes 72-hour waiting period for abortions in Missouri

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Source: (c)2014 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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