Missouri lawmakers are considering legislation to extend the wait time before a woman who wants to have an abortion can obtain one from 24 to 72 hours.
Only Utah and South Dakota currently have 72-hour waiting periods. Most, like Missouri, require that women wait 24 hours after an initial consultation before they can have the procedure, according to the Associated Press.
The HB1313 bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Elmer (R-Nixa), is headed for the House Rules Committee after it met with unanticipated testimony during its committee hearing.
"I would like you to be able to trust in my opinions," Dina van der Zalm, a masters student at the University of Missouri, told the committee Wednesday. "Since this bill...makes the assumption that women are not capable of making difficult decisions without the aid of politicians requiring additional time -- an additional three days -- to really think it through, then I can only assume that you're not going to legitimately listen [to] or value the opinions I would like to state today."
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Calling the bill an "abuse of legislative power," Van der Zalm said she would also take a 3-day waiting period to think over her testimony.
"I would like to take your recommended waiting period and return Monday after I've had time to really think through my decisions," she said. "I'm pretty sure of how I feel. I'm pretty sure it's not going to change at all."
The bill’s supporters say women need more time to think over their decision to have an abortion. Opponents say that it’s not up to the legislature to decide, and that the bill would push women further into their pregnancies and make getting an abortion more difficult. There is currently only one abortion provider in the whole state, Planned Parenthood St. Louis, making the 3-day wait even more cumbersome.
Last week hundreds of abortion opponents gathered a the Missouri State Capitol for the fourth annual “Midwest March for Life.”
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Cathy Fork, a member of the pro-life organization 40 Days for said she was rallying to make abortion illegal altogether in the state.
"We're going to be putting out an initiative to make Missouri become abortion free. We're going to mobilize the people by prayer, legislation, and activism to end abortion in Missouri,” Fork told KRCG.