Nixon's abortion bill veto defeated

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sater hopes 72-hour waiting period will slow procedures

Working late into the night during the state legislature's veto session on Sept. 9, one bill in particular was on State Sen. David Sater's mind -- the bill extending the waiting period to have an abortion from 24 hours to 72.

Nixon vetoed the bill in June, and after being overturned in the State House by a 119-31 margin, the bill was overturned in the State Senate along party lines, 23-9. It will go into effect on Oct. 9.

"I think it's wonderful," Sater said. "During the regular session, we passed it early on Tuesday morning after agreeing with the Democrats to not press anti-union legislation."

Sater said the override did not come without some maneuvering, as he said the Senate Democrats were filibustering the abortion bill, hoping to continue until 5 a.m., when State Sen. David Pearce. R-Warrensburg, had to leave.

Sater said because of the Democrat's tactics, he employed a rule that had not been used in the State Senate since 2007, gathering signatures for a petition to "move to the previous question," which brought the bill out of discussion and up for a vote.

"They use that in the House all the time, but in the Senate, we feel we are deliberate and can talk and work things out," he said. "It made the Democrats very upset, but I feel it was justified because they were playing a little unfair too, knowing some of us had to leave."

Sater said he hopes the bill's passing will decrease the number of abortions in Missouri, which totaled more than 5,000 last year and about 9,000 in years past, when there were multiple abortion clinics in the state.

"I think it gives pregnant women more time to think about their decisions, and hopefully, they consider life instead of death," he said. "We'll never get the number of abortions to zero, but I hope we can whittle away at it a little bit."

Representatives of Planned Parenthood St. Louis Region, the only abortion clinic in the state, said the bill's overturning is dangerous and restricts access to safe and legal abortions.

"The legislators who took extraordinary measures to force this bill into law are way out of step with the more than 70 percent of Missourians who wanted them to allow the veto to stand,"said Paula Gianino, President and CEO of ADVOCATES -- The Political Arm of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. "While politicians may have abandoned the women of Missouri, Planned Parenthood never will. We will continue to do everything we can to fight for the women of Missouri who rely on us."

"This bill is further intrusion of politicians into Missourians' personal lives," said Laura McQuade, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. "We all want women to have the information and support they need to make a carefully considered decision about a pregnancy -- this law won't do that. It will block access to safe, legal abortion and target women who already have the least access to medical care."

Utah and South Dakota are the only two states with similar waiting periods for abortions.

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