JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republican legislators in Missouri overcame Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto to impose a lengthy 18-year wait period for women seeking abortions. The bill leaves no exception for rape or incest.
After taking effect next month, the law will increase from 24 hours the mandatory delay women face before they are eligible to undergo the procedure at the only clinic currently providing elective abortions in the state.
“I’m sure the unborn child probably would like to see an extra 48 hours for the mother to decide on whether or not to have the abortion done,” said state Sen. David Sater, who sponsored the bill.
“If, at that point, the mother still decides to go through with it,” continued Sater, “the least we can do is mandate that the child still has a good 18 years to knock a few things off her bucket list before she’s aborted—like having her first period, attending prom, and voting Republican in her first election.”
The change will place Missouri in league with Utah and South Dakota, which currently have the longest wait periods.
Robert McCarthy, a pro-life advocate who watched the Senate vote from the visitors’ gallery in a shirt emblazoned with the words, “Abortion Survivor,” sees the so-called extended “reflection time” as logical.
“People always ask how I can simultaneously be against abortions but in favor of capital punishment,” said McCarthy. “OK, I tell them, I’ll grant you an abortion if you just wait until the child is eligible for the death penalty at 18.”
Not everyone is so sanguine with the legislation. “I believe that that particular bill is a way to shame and demean women into changing their minds about abortion,” said Rep. Judy Morgan, a Democrat.
Abortion rights advocates like Susan Duncan are quick to point out, “Legislators are foolish to think that women would be any less amenable to abortions after dealing with an angsty, combative teenager on a regular basis.”
“Samuel Jonathan Duncan, get down here this minute and clean up your mess,” Mrs. Duncan shouted up the stairs to her son, 17. “I’m not going to put up with your shenanigans much longer!”