Missouri Looks to Impose Longer Waiting Period on Women

The Missouri legislature is currently considering a law to impose new burdens on access to reproductive health services.  Under the proposed legislation, women would be required to wait at least 3 days between an initial ultrasound and an abortion procedure.  This requirement is just the latest part of the anti-choice effort to cut off access to safe and legal abortion, and Missouri, which already has a 24-hour waiting period, would be the third state to impose the 72-hour constraint. 

Proponents of the law argue that it gives women more time to reconsider their decision.  In reality, the requirement condescendingly implies that women do not thoroughly consider their healthcare decisions and that the government must insert itself into extremely personal life choices.  Studies of waiting periods have also shown that these requirements increase the incidence of late-term abortion and impose the most significant burdens on low-income women, who often struggle to find the money and time to make repeated doctor’s visits under the arbitrary time requirement imposed by the state.

Kerry Messer, the President of Missouri Family Network, claimed that the bill will protect women and even expressed enthusiasm for the fact that “we don’t see this in any other area of healthcare.”  Of course, the fact that this enormous overregulation and legislation of medical decisions is not found in any other area of healthcare only highlights the dangerous attacks on women’s medicine in recent years.  No one should be proud that the government is making personal medical decisions and that women are being singled out and targeted by this regulation. 

Sadly, Missouri is not even considering the most radical waiting period seen in recent weeks.  Louisiana recently came under enormous criticism for a rule that would have require women to wait 30 days after initial blood tests before they could legally obtain an abortion.  The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is now backing off those regulations after they became publicly known, but is still implementing a number of other arbitrary new regulations designed to shut down abortion clinics across the state. 

Not only do these proposed new waiting periods reflect an anti-choice affinity for paternalistic big-government and lack of individual freedom, but they also pose enormous health risks to women across the country.  As women are forced to wait until later into a pregnancy to seek an abortion, the health risks associated with the procedure increase greatly.  If Louisiana is successful in imposing its slew of regulations, some of which directly contradict accepted medical practice, it could also put women at risk as some turn to illegal and unsafe providers.  Across the nation, women’s health is being put at risk as anti-choice ideology tramples common sense, medical safety, and personal liberty.  

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