Legislative leaders in the Missouri General Assembly are lining up the votes to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto of major new pro-life legislation. Nixon vetoed a bill which would extend the waiting period for an
abortion from 24 to 72 hours.
The legislation was adopted by veto-proof majorities in both the Missouri House and Senate. The bill is designed to ensure that women considering abortion have sufficient time to evaluate their options after being provided information about the abortion procedure.
Governor Nixon says he voted the bill because it is "insulting to women" and "serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women." A centerpiece of Nixon's veto message was the false claim made by the abortion industry that the bill would victimize women who have been sexually assaulted.Senator David Sater
of Cassville, who initiated the legislation, expressed deep disappointment with the Governor's decision. "Abortion is a matter of life and
death. This is an irreversible and permanent decision, and taking the time to think about the consequences is not unreasonable or a burden...I firmly believe that most Missourians do not think that three days is too much time to decide whether to bring a child into this world."
Senator Sater took aim at Nixon's objection to the lack of a rape exception in the bill. "Under current law, 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 preventative contraception. [This bill] in no way changes the existing law allowing rape victims to seek immediate medical treatment or contraception."
Senator Sater also charged that Nixon's veto was politically motivated. "Governor Nixon decides to be pro-life or pro-choice depending on the next election. Serious elected officials remember that unborn children are not abstractions to play politics with. They are real people...and deserve protection under the law."
The final version of the bill vetoed by the Governor came out of the Missouri House, and was sponsored by Representatives Kevin Elmer of Nixa and Keith Frederick of Rolla. House Speaker Tim Jones
issued a statement condemning Nixon's anti-life actions.
"The most important thing our Legislature can do is protect life, and I know I am not alone in this belief. This is a common sense measure, and it unconscionable
for Governor Nixon to veto this bill. Life must be protected, and I will not waver in my commitment to make Missouri one of the safest states in the nation for the unborn."
Extending the abortion reflection period is a crucial element in assuring that women are able to make an informed choice concerning an unintended pregnancy. The first major step in promoting an informed decision occurred four years ago, when the Legislature adopted a comprehensive informed consent statute.
Under that law, a woman who visits an abortion clinic receives a packet of information which includes detailed information concerning the nature and risks of the abortion procedure, and alternatives to abortion. She is provided materials which depict the development of the preborn child at various stages, and is offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound of her child and hear
the heartbeat of the child if it is audible.
The woman is also provided the names and contact information of pregnancy resource centers and adoption agencies which would assist her in carrying her child to term. She is also made aware of state and federal programs which may provide financial assistance to cover the cost of prenatal and newborn care.
We believe that is vital that a woman have adequate time to evaluate all this information and make her own decision in an objective, dispassionate, and deliberate manner. Extended reflection periods also diminish the intense pressure women often receive to abort their children from boyfriends, husbands, parents, and even sexual predators.
The Missouri General Assembly will meet in veto session on September 10th, and it seems likely that both chambers will succeed at overriding the Governor's
veto. The bill, Senate Committee Substitute for House Bills 1307 and 1313, was approved in the House by a vote of 111-39. 109 votes are needed for an override. Six members of the House who were absent are also likely votes for an override. The total vote count includes ten pro-life Democrats who would seem committed to face down the Governor on this issue.
The only real drama will occur in the Senate, where the bill was adopted on a vote of 22-9. 23 votes are needed for an override. However, one pro-life Senator was absent for that vote. If all 23 of those Senators are present, the bill will be enacted into law over the
Governor's objections. Yet, if even one of those Senators is absent when the vote occurs, the override motion would fail.
Should the override succeed, Missouri would become the third state with a 72-hour waiting period, along with Utah and South Dakota. While a lawsuit challenging the statute might occur, we are confident that the 8th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, and if necessary, the U.S. Supreme Court, will uphold the law.
We encourage you to contact your state senator and state representative to urge them to vote to override the Governor's veto.
You can contact your state senator by using this link:Your State Senator
You can contact your state representative by clicking this link:Your State Representative
If you do not know who your legislators are, you can find that information with this link:Legislator Lookup