Missourians have staged a 72-hour filibuster protesting a terrible bill requiring a three-day waiting period for women seeking abortions

  • Echoes of Wendy Davis in Jeff City.

It’s been a real bummer, this legislative session, watching Missouri’s increasingly deranged Republican legislators attempt to out-wingnut the kooks across the State Line in Kansas. Last week, the Republicans (and one Democrat – this guy) succeeded in overriding Governor Nixon’s veto of a huge, disastrous, Kansas-inspired tax cut that disproportionately benefits the rich while offering to an average family an annual return roughly equivalent to a night out at Chili’s.

Conservatives in the Statehouse are also chipping away at abortion rights in the Show-Me State. Since abortion is still, you know, legal in the United States, the best they can do is make it extremely difficult for women to have abortions, both logistically and psychologically. They’ve mostly accomplished the former: There is only one abortion clinic in the state, Reproductive Health Services, in St. Louis. As to the latter, there’s HB 1307, which aims to triple Missouri’s mandatory waiting period for women seeking abortions, from 24 hours to three days. As we’ve noted, this is an ugly bill for several reasons: It places an undue financial burden on the working class, it callously shames women who are already in a tough spot, and it’s even bad for women’s health. (Here’s one pretty relatable story about why the bill is so pernicious.)

Naturally, it stands a very good chance of passing into law, having passed the House, and in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the Senate (following the Democrats dropping their oppositional filibuster.) That’s why a group of Missouri women are gathering in Jefferson City for a symbolic, 72-hour “filibuster” of the bill.

“Missourians are outraged by this dangerous and misguided agenda and have been organizing for months – hundreds rallied last month at a Lobby Day for Women’s Health, and thousands more have called and emailed their legislators. The bottom line is: Lawmakers should be helping Missouri women have more access to medical care, not less,” reads the website of The Women’s Filibuster, the organizing entity. The plan is to occupy the steps of the Capitol through this Thursday, May 15, at 2 p.m.

So far, the award for Dumbest Thing Said By A Politician About This Bill goes to Chuck Gatschenberger (R-St. Charles), who compared the decision to have an abortion to installing new carpeting in his home:

“There’s lots of things I do going into a decision – whether that’s a car, whether that’s a house, whether that’s any major decision that I make in my life. Even carpeting. You know, I was just considering getting carpeting in my house. That process probably took a month. I wanted to be as informed as possible, and that’s what this bill is, having them get as much information as possible.”

But House Speaker Tim Jones (R-St. Louis) is a close second, having recently told KBIA, regarding the bill, “If we were to choose the opposite extreme, and the state were not to choose to protect life well, eventually the state would run out of citizens, it would run out of taxpayers and the state would cease to exist.” Good thinking, Tim Jones! Such vision!

There are only two other states that have enacted a three-day abortion waiting period: Utah and South Dakota. The legislative session ends Friday. Live feed of the filibuster here.

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