Missouri Law Stirs Up Controversy

An abortion 72-hour wait period went into effect in the beginning of October, despite Governor Nixon’s previous veto of the proposed law. Recently,an overturn by the legislature allowed it to go into effect with varying opinions from all sides of the spectrum. This law requires women who want to get an abortion to have a consultation with a professional and give their informed consent 72 hours before receiving the abortion. The 72-hour wait period is the one of the longest in the country coming in right behind South Dakota.

Those opposed to this new law claim it is unconstitutional and infringes upon women’s rights, particularly when it comes to equal protection. They also claim that the law makes the process unnecessarily difficult, both for the clinic and the patient. Requiring a 72-hour wait can make it difficult for patients to get appointments scheduled in the allotted time frame, while also making scheduling for physicians a nightmare.

Missouri Law Stirs Up Controversy

Supporters, on the other hand, believe this wait period allows women time to reflect and make a truly informed choice. Their hope is that a longer wait period will lead to a decrease in the amount of abortions that occur in the state. They insist that this extra time spent waiting might encourage them to reconsider their choice, curbing their desire to abort in the end.

Despite the clear opposition, however, you won’t see any protesting or challenges by displeased abortion clinics just yet. Why aren’t abortion clinics taking to the streets or the courtroom right away?

After careful consideration of the law and the language that accompanied it, Missouri Planned Parenthood officials seemed to decide it wouldn’t be worth their time to try to bring the law to the state or federal court. Various courts have upheld wait times enacted across the country, making it apparent that judges don’t find the law unconstitutional. One of these courts included 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the Associated Press quotes those opposed of the law as saying the court continually rules against women’s interests. This same court covers the St. Louis area, meaning the challenge would be taken on by a court that, to Planned Parenthood, already has a set view against women.

Planned Parenthood won’t stay quiet forever, though. They will dutifully follow the law put in place, but will look out for a testimonial from a patient regarding the wait-period and the problems it presents. They believe a testimonial will be the key to presenting a good case against the wait-period. Meanwhile, supporters are happy with the quiet acceptance of the law from Planned Parenthood and believe this law is a step in the right direction for their cause.

Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney with the firm Bandré, Hunt & Snider, LLC where they are the leading attorneys in Jefferson City MO.

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