New Mo. Abortion Waiting Period Goes Into Effect This Week

Missouri's only abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, has not sued the state over its new law requiring a 72-hour waiting period to get an abortion.

New Mo. Abortion Waiting Period Goes Into Effect This Week
Missouri Division of Tourism / CC BY NC ND 2.0

Missouri's law requiring a 72-hour waiting period to have an abortion is going into effect this week, and its opponents have given up on trying to stop it.

Planned Parenthood runs Missouri's only licensed abortion clinic, and it has spoken out against the law, calling it burdensome for women, but has not taken any legal action against it. 

DR. EISENBERG: "There's no medical reason that a woman needs to wait 72 hours. It's time for the legislator to stop interfering with women's access to healthcare."

If Planned Parenthood wished to file a lawsuit, it would likely have to find a woman to serve as plaintiff to center the suit around. But there's been no indication any such lawsuit is planned. 

Missouri's Democratic Governor Jay Nixon did veto the bill in July, noting that the law does not have exceptions for rape or incest victims, but that veto was overridden by the GOP-dominated state legislature. 

The waiting period is just one example of how states are putting restrictions on abortions while trying not to run afoul of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Those who support the law hope it will lead to fewer abortions in the state because it will give women more time to think about if they really want an abortion. 

HOUSE SPEAKER TIM JONES VIA KRCG: "I think this comes from the women. They have said these are important rights for us ... to have this refection period to bring a new life into the world."

The new law will make Missouri the state with the second largest waiting period, just behind South Dakota. But, about half of U.S. states require a waiting period of at least 24 hours.