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Senate debates longer wait before abortion

Senate debates longer wait before abortion

February 20th, 2014 in News

Missouri senators started debate Wednesday over legislation that would require women seeking an abortion to wait longer after seeing a doctor.

The state's informed consent law currently requires a 24-hour waiting period, and that would be extended to 72 hours under the bill. Women are provided information such as the immediate and long-term medical risks and alternatives to an abortion. Women also are given an opportunity to view an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat.

Sponsoring Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, said there is a lot of information for people to consider. He said 24 hours is too short a period.

The state Senate discussed the bill (SB519) Wednesday and did not reach a vote before adjourning for the day. Separate legislation also has been approved by a House committee.

Critics of the proposal have said it would lead to abortions performed later in a pregnancy, which can increase risks. Missouri's only facility currently performing elective abortions is in St. Louis.

Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, said the legislation seems to assume someone seeking an abortion has not thought about it for some time.

South Dakota and Utah have a 72-hour waiting period before an abortion. Utah enacted its requirement in 2012, and South Dakota's measure took effect last year.