Missouri House finds new way to shame women seeking abortions
For those of you keeping track at home, there is now exactly one abortion clinic in the entire state of Missouri: Reproductive Health Services, in St. Louis. (There are three left in Kansas.) What does that mean for a woman in, say, Springfield, Missouri, who gets pregnant and decides – as is her right under the constitution – that she doesn’t wish to bring a child into the world at that time?
It means she has to take off work and drive three or four hours, either to St. Louis or Overland Park. After initial counseling, she must, by law, then wait another 24 hours before undergoing the procedure. That adds up to about two full days of misery, to say nothing of physical and emotional recovery time.
“Not punitive enough!” say 95 men (and 20 women) in the Missouri House of Representatives.
HB 1307 and HB 1313, which sailed through the House 115-37 yesterday, aims to triple Missouri’s mandatory waiting period for women seeking abortions, from 24 hours to three days. The Senate is currently reviewing a similar bill.
The Republicans supporting these measures argue that women need more time to process the emotional ramifications of the decision to have an abortion. But that is a very clearly a heaping load of horseshit. The goal of bills like HB 1307 and SB 519 is to make it more difficult for women to have an abortion, and to make the process as shameful and humiliating as possible along the way. In addition to being condescending to women, they’re also bad policy from a health perspective.
“Abortion is a very safe procedure, but it is safer the earlier it is provided. Tripling the amount of time a woman has to wait before accessing medical care will force abortion later in pregnancy, putting women’s health at risk all in the name of politics,” says Paula Gianino, President and CEO of ADVOCATES, the political arm of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, in a release today regarding the proposed legislation. “Missourians want politicians in Jefferson City to respect women and their ability to make private medical decisions.”
But why let women’s rights get in the way of pandering to the increasingly deranged Republican base?