© 2023 KRCU Public Radio
90.9 Cape Girardeau | 88.9-HD Ste. Genevieve | 88.7 Poplar Bluff
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Mo. House Gives 1st-Round Approval To 72-Hour Waiting Period For Abortions; Senate Version Blocked

Mo. Capitol
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio
Mo. Capitol

Legislation that would require a 72-hour waiting period for abortions is moving forward in the Missouri House, while its Senate counterpart is stalled.

The House version, HB 1307,  received first-round approval on a mostly party-line vote of 115-37.  Nine Democrats joined the GOP majority in voting "yes."  State Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville, says extending the waiting period from the current 24 hours is critical.

"If waiting 72 hours changes just one person's mind in the decision they're going to make, they've saved a child," Haefner said.  "This has value."

House Democrats argued that the bill would put more restrictions on women's right to choose and to make their own health decisions, in addition to creating more hardships for those seeking to end a pregnancy. 

"We're down to one facility, Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, that provides abortion services, (and) we have one physician in the state that provides abortion services," said State Rep. Genise Montecillo, D-St. Louis.  "Women have to travel to St. Louis, (and) they (would) have to wait 72 hours and have expenses staying in St. Louis."

House Bill 1307 needs one more vote before moving to the Missouri Senate.

The Senate, meanwhile, also brought up its version of the bill Wednesday night, but Democrats have launched a filibuster to block it.  State Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, says Senate Bill 519 flies in the face of what Republicans claim to hold dear, smaller government.

"This bill interjects government directly square in the face of a woman who has a difficult decision to make and says, 'we want you to wait longer because we don't think you've thought about this enough,'" Holsman said.  "How is that not big government?"

The Senate version is sponsored by David Sater, R-Cassville, who's also a retired pharmacist.

"I just want the woman, who is pregnant, to have sufficient time to reflect on this life-changing decision," Sater said on the Senate floor.

The bill was laid aside Wednesday night, and it's unknown when GOP leaders may bring it up again.  Two other states, South Dakota and Utah, have 72-hour waiting periods for abortions.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2014 St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.