St. Louis, Mo., Sep 12, 2014 / 14:49 pm
The Missouri legislature has overridden two vetoes from Gov. Jay Nixon in order to implement a three-day waiting period before an abortion and a tax credit for pregnancy centers and maternity homes.
Karen Nolkemper, executive director of the Respect Life Apostolate for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, said the votes for the two bills are "a public affirmation that all life matters, even that of the most vulnerable among us."
Missouri's Republican-controlled legislature on Wednesday voted 117-44 in the House of Representatives and 23-7 in the state Senate to override the Democratic governor's veto of a bill that required a woman seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours after a consultation with a doctor before having the procedure.
Nolkemper said that women "should have sufficient time to reflect and consider alternatives to an abortion because abortion ends the life of a new and unique human being."
"Many women are pressured into having an abortion by friends and family, but the 72-hour reflection period will protect woman as they make a difficult, permanent, and life-changing decision," she added.
The archdiocese voiced hope that the waiting period will also give women "the opportunity to find the options they need to keep their babies."
Missouri law, like about half of U.S. states, previously required a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, the Associated Press reports. South Dakota and Utah have implemented a 72-hour waiting period, though Utah's waiting period allows exceptions for women pregnant through rape and incest.
Gov. Nixon had said that the waiting period expansion was "extreme and disrespectful" to women because it did not exempt cases of rape and incest, the Associated Press reports.
Pam Fichter, president of Missouri Right to Life, said the extended waiting period will give a woman more time to consider her decision, research "the dangers and consequences of abortion" and find more help and alternatives to abortion.
The abortion provider Planned Parenthood did not say whether it would challenge the law, which will take effect 30 days after the Sept. 10 vote. It said the law could require women to travel more or to spend more money on hotels.
Women seeking abortions could avoid the law by traveling to Illinois and Kansas, where the abortion is less regulated.
Fewer than 5,500 abortions took place in Missouri in 2013.
The state legislature overrode the governor's veto on a tax credit bill by even wider margins. The tax credits could increase financial support for pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and food pantries.
"We are happy that these tax incentives will give private donors greater ability to be generous in the donations they make to these important programs and organizations that serve Missouri women and children in need," Nolkemper said.
Fichter said both bills would "work together to protect the women of Missouri" and "ensure that in this matter of life and death, they don't make a decision that will have a detrimental effect on them both physically and emotionally."
"Pro-lifers across Missouri are so thankful and pleased that these bills are going into effect," she said.