Missouri abortion bill insults women

05/12/2014 6:08 PM

05/13/2014 8:18 PM

The idea that Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly are battling to make patients wait 72 hours for an abortion speaks volumes about their priorities and attitudes toward women.

In a state where legal abortion already is hard to obtain, Republicans filed 27 bills this session to establish even more barriers. The 72-hour waiting period is the most burdensome, made worse by Republicans’ refusal to make exceptions for victims of rape and incest.

Missouri Republicans insult women with the suggestion that they “need” three days between consulting with a physician and having the procedure to fully consider what they are doing.

A sample comment by Sen. David Sater of Cassville, the bill’s sponsor: “I want the patients to have plenty of time to be able to have an understanding of what they are going to have done in the elective surgery.”

Rest assured, Mr. Sater, women who arrive at an abortion clinic are fully aware of what is going to be done “in the elective surgery.” Most of them have agonized for days and don’t need an extra 72 hours to prolong the anxiety.

The prolonged waiting period will be hardest on low-income women, who may have to take off work and arrange for costly child care and transportation. Along with the blatant unfairness, Sater’s bill seems destined to embroil Missouri in more costly litigation.

Women from around Missouri and elsewhere arrived in Jefferson City on Monday for a planned 72-hour “filibuster” of the bill. It’s a show of theater but one that effectively points out the extreme nature of the legislation being considered in the session’s final week.

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