Abortion bill awaits governor's response

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, and State Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa, had the same idea when it came to abortions, saying more time should be taken to think about the decision to have one.

Sater introduced a bill in December that would triple the waiting period for an abortion, from one day to three days, and Elmer filed a replica of the bill in the Missouri House.

Near the end of the recent session, and with Elmer's bill already out of the House, Sater agreed to bring Elmer's bill to the senate floor for a vote, passing it along party lines.

"Kevin called me in January after I had filed the bill and asked if he could file the same one in the house," Sater said. "On Feb. 1, it got on the calendar and we spent 3-1/2 hours debating it, and we had to keep pushing it. We went through four separate filibusters on that bill."

The filibusters came to an end on May 14, when Sater said the senate Republicans used the previous question tactic, a last resort option Sater described as an "institutional courtesy" to bring the bill to a vote and end the debate and filibusters.

"After three hours of filibusters, we wanted to get four bills passed: the abortion bill, early voting, paycheck protection and voter ID," he said. "So, we made a deal to let Elmer's bill and the early voting bill go to a vote if we didn't pursue paycheck protection or voter ID."

Gov. Jay Nixon now has the bill on his desk and has until July 14 to take action, which may include signing into law, vetoing, or letting it become law without his signature.

in a statement released after the bill's passing, Nixon said he had a few concerns about its contents.

"House Bill 1307 will get the same comprehensive review given to all bills that reach my desk," he said. "However, it is clear that by failing to include an exception for rape and incest, this extreme proposal would separate Missouri from all but one other state in the nation. I have profound concerns about its impact on women and especially the victims of these heinous crimes."

Sater said the bill is designed to protect life, and a child born of rape is no less important than a child born of consensual sex. Sater said he hopes the governor will let the bill ride without a signature.

If the bill does become law, Sater said he expects to see an immediate impact.

"I think we will see results immediately," he said. "If someone has to wait three days, they'll have that time of reflection and consultation, and hopefully, some will decide to carry their babies to term."

When asked how he would react if there was no drop in the number of abortions as a result of the bill, Sater said he does not believe that will happen.

"I think it will have an effect, so that's not even in my thought process," he said. "South Dakota and Utah have implemented three-day waiting periods, and they've seen abortions drop. So, I think the same will happen here."

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