The Buzz

May 13, 2014

72-hour abortion waiting period clears Missouri Senate

The bill triples the waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion.

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

The Missouri Senate has approved legislation tripling the waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion.

In a 22-9 party-line vote just after midnight, the bill won passage after Democrats gave up on a filibuster that had stalled the measure for weeks.

In exchange for Democrats allowing a vote on the abortion bill and another measure putting a scaled-down early voting period on the November ballot, Senate Republicans agreed that two other bills were dead for the year: a requirement that voters show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot and a bill making it more difficult for public employee unions to collect dues.

The bill would mandate a woman wait three days after an initial visit with an abortion provider before the procedure can be done. That would triple the current 24-hour waiting period. An exception for medical emergencies is already included in current law, but not for rape or incest.

Only Utah and South Dakota have similar 72-hour waiting periods in place.

After abandoning his filibuster, St. Louis Democratic Sen. Scott Sifton said he believes the bill will ultimately be deemed unconstitutional by the courts.

Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis County Republican, said he hopes the bill will result in fewer abortions by giving women more time to contemplate their decision.

The legislation must go back to the House, which can either send the bill to the governor or request a conference committee to work out differences with the Senate.

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