Missouri Abortion Bill Could Mandate 72-Hour Thinking Time

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JEFFERSON CITY - House Bill 1307 calls for a change from the current required 24-hour waiting period to a 72-hour waiting period after a woman requests an abortion from her caregiver.    

"I do think it's pretty insulting to women's intelligence," Planned Parenthood legislative intern Dina Van Der Zalm said. "Because they've made it clear there's no medical basis, so the implication here is, 24 hours isn't enough for you to make this decision, if we gave you 72 hours, you would change your mind. Implying that I can't make the decision that's right for me in 24 hours."

Van Der Zalm added that pushing a woman further into pregnancy could cause increased medical risk.  

As a proponent of the bill, Representative Keith Frederick, R-Rolla, a retired orthopaedic surgeon, sighted other medical operations like a knee surgery or hip replacement, in which patients wait several weeks or months to have the operation, giving them ample time to think about the decision. 

When asked what his reaction to Van Der Zalm's argument, Frederick responded with the following:

"Well I think it's very demeaning to the child. And it's very inconvenient for the child to be terminated. So if it's a little inconvenient for the mother, I think that's in the great balance of things, I think I side with give the child every shot at achieving birth and life," Frederick said.

Utah and South Dakota are the two states that enacted the 72-hour waiting period for abortions.  Data from South Dakota's Planned Parenthood showed little change in the rate of abortions per year after the required thinking time began.  

The House gave the bill first-round approval Wednesday on a 115-37 vote. A second House vote would move it to the Senate, which began debating its own version Wednesday evening. Senator David Sater, R-Cassville, is the bill's sponsor.

Should the bill become a law, it would be in effect August 28, 2014.