Missouri lawmakers have passed a bill that requires a woman to allow 72 hours between the dates when she has her first doctor’s consultation and exam to when she has an abortion. Currently, there is a 24-hour requirement; this bill adds a couple days to that. Governor Jay Nixon, who is a Democrat, still has not confirmed if he will sign it or not.

The bill passed by a huge margin in the House – 111 to 39. Yes, the House is majority Republicans, but they did not simply wander in, take a seat, and start representing. The voters of the state of Missouri put them there. So, one could argue that the majority of the House vote is the majority of the voters of Missouri by proxy. The bill also passed by a comparably large margin in the Senate as well – 22 to 9.

The governor, who happens to be aligned with the opposition party, is not sure if he wants to sign a bill into law, even though that law is not breaking any other laws or infringing on anyone’s civil rights. The bill is not banning abortion or adding any extra rules or qualifications to it. It is simply putting a 3-day waiting period (which is technically only 2 days more than it is now) for a woman to consider everything she reviewed with her doctor, consider her options, and then, if she still wants one, have the abortion. She can even schedule the abortion at the appointment; it just can’t be the very next day.

The Outcry

Abortion rights activists are furious, insisting that this bill is intruding on personal lives. Seriously, abortion rights activists? I mean, seriously? First off, all laws technically intrude on personal lives. Tell me a law that in some way or another does not affect someone’s personal life in some way. This bill is not interfering with “a woman’s right to make her own private medical decisions,” as Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, maintains. The bill is not saying “You can’t have an abortion” or “You have to jump through x number of additional hoops to have one.” No…the bill just says that you can’t have your abortion until 72 hours after you have your doctor’s appointment. “Oh, but it’s tripling the waiting period!” You’re right – 3 days is 3 times more than 1 day. Come on, abortion rights activists, quit being so offended and dramatic! There are so many other bills and movements that are aimed to actually stop abortion. Please focus your energy and fury on those. This is not one of them.

Name me one elective/non-emergency major medical procedure that you can get scheduled for within fewer than 72 hours of your initial appointment. I want to have my tubes tied? My personal choice, but I still can’t just stroll in off the street and have it done; I have to wait a few days/weeks and also make sure I have thought it through. Same goes for a vasectomy for my husband. Or having an ovary removed because of a painful cyst. Or having a non-cancerous lump removed from my breast. Yet, a woman wants to have a baby-fetus-innocuous “clump of cells” removed from her body, she cries foul because she has to wait an extra 2 days to have it done.

Abortion rights activists are also trying to claim that this waiting period will add so much stress and anxiety to an already stressed woman. Why exactly would that be? Elective abortions are women who have decided that they don’t wish to become a mother to the baby-fetus-innocuous “clump of cells” that is growing inside them, whether it’s due to rape, or incest, or bad timing. They are stressed and anxious because continuing this pregnancy full term will in some way be detrimental to their lives. Having an abortion supposedly takes that anxiety away, because the problem is resolved. Well, the problem is resolved the minute you make that appointment. Your future has freed up, there will be no unwanted child to deal with…what difference does it make if you do it within 24 hours or 72 hours. It doesn’t change the fact that you’ve taken care of the “problem.” What is there to be anxious about?


The bottom line is that this bill is not pro-life vs. pro-choice. It’s simply adding a couple of days to an already legal waiting period to make sure that the woman has thought everything through, has a support system in place if needed, and is confident in her decision. I would venture to say that if she’s even more stressed and anxious in the extra 48 hours that she has to wait, then maybe she’s not 100% sure about her decision in the first place. Anyone on either side of the abortion fence should be able to agree that an abortion done in the heat of panic is never a good idea. What if the woman regrets her hasty decision? What if she would have had a less difficult emotional recovery if she’d gotten her boyfriend/parents/best friend on board to help her through this rough decision? Those extra couple of days could be the difference between a future of confidence in her decision or a future of sadness and regret.

And if the woman is one of those “I don’t give a damn, it’s my choice” people, then she can suck it up and wait an extra 48 hours to exercise her right to choose.



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