Sater: Legislature will overturn abortion veto

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Governor vetoes bill authored by Cassville senator

State Sen. David Sater is rallying legislators as he attempts to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the abortion bill he and State Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa, passed in May.

Sater introduced a bill in December 2013 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.

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill on July 2, saying he did so because the bill did not contain an exemption for victims of rape and incest. Nixon said the bill showed "a callous disregard for women who find themselves in horrific circumstances."

Sater said he is disappointed in the decision, and taking the extra two days to think about going through with an abortion is not unreasonable.

"Gov. Nixon decides to be pro-life or pro-choice, depending on the next election," he said. "Serious elected officials remember that unborn children are not abstractions to play politics with. They are real. They are human beings like you and me, and deserve protection under the law.

"I firmly believe that most Missourians do not think three days is too much time to decide whether to bring a child into this world."

Sater said while rape is a horrible and heinous crime, victims of rape can immediately receive medical treatment at a hospital emergency room and cannot be turned away. After a physical examination, the patient is given options of treatment of care, including psychological care, physical care and preventative contraception. If the patient forgoes this treatment and becomes pregnant, the current 24-hour waiting period law applies.

"[The bill] simply extends that waiting period to 72 hours and in no way changes the existing law allowing a victim to seek medical treatment or contraception," he said. "Cases involving sexual assault are extremely serious and sensitive. We must also remember that there have been tens of millions of abortions performed since 1973 that were not the result of sexual assault."

Sater said because of the bill's passing in May, he is confident the veto will be overturned in September's veto session.

"[The bill] passed with overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and the House, and I am confident my colleagues will again vote in September in support of life," he said.

State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, voted in favor of the bill in May, and said he is also confident the veto will be overturned.

"I'm fairly certain we'll be able to overturn it because abortion bills were passed before there were 109 Republicans in the House," he said. "There are also many Democrats who are pro-life.

"I think Sater did a good job explaining why the bill did not provide that exemption, and the 24-hour waiting period applies to everyone, so the 72-hour waiting period should apply to everyone, too."

The bill passed the Senate in May by a vote of 22-9, and it passed through the House by a vote of 111-39.

Sater said the reason he filed his bill is because Planned Parenthood St. Louis Region, the only abortion clinic in the state, performed more than 9,000 abortions last year, and he hopes to see a drop in that number.

"I would like to see fewer abortions, and if a person has more time to contemplate such a life-changing decision, because we are talking about the death of a child, hopefully, they will have the time to pray on it and may make the decision not to have an abortion," he said.

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