Missouri Legislators File Waiting Period, Forced Ultrasound Bills

The Missouri legislature began its 2014 session Wednesday, and anti-choice lawmakers have already set to work introducing legislation that would increase barriers to reproductive health care for women in the state.

State Sen. David Sater (R-Cassville) filed SB 519, which would increase the state’s current 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion to 72 hours. “We’re talking about just two more days, and it should just give maybe some more time for reflection on making the right decision,” Sater told the Kansas City Star.

But as Paula Gianino, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, told RH Reality Check, “women already give considerable thought to this most difficult decision.”

“Waiting periods have been studied for decades, and they don’t decrease abortion they just increase abortion later in pregnancy,” she said. “As a matter of public policy it’s really abhorrent to have politicians force women to have abortions later in pregnancy.”

A 2009 Guttmacher Institute report found that waiting periods have little or no impact on abortion rates, but may postpone the timing of some abortions. “Extended waiting periods are exceedingly onerous,” said Gianino. “Requiring longer wait time will only push women further along in their pregnancy. Any time you force women to have abortion later in pregnancy you are putting women at greater risk.”

In the state house, Rep. Ron Hicks (R-St. Charles County) filed HB 1148, which would make ultrasounds 24 hours prior to an abortion mandatory in the state; under current state law, ultrasounds must be offered but are not required. The bill includes an exemption for victims of rape or incests, but only if the victim has reported the crime to law enforcement. Hicks was a co-sponsor of an identical bill in the previous legislative session.

Gianino says that as the only clinic in Missouri that provides surgical abortion services, the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis sees patients from a large geographic region, and increasing waiting periods would lead to significant additional cost and create further burdens for women seeking reproductive health care. “Which, frankly, is the intent, I believe,” she said.

According to Gianino, one out of every five patients at the St. Louis clinic travels over 100 miles, and because the clinic offers mid-term abortion, the clinic sees patients from about nine states surrounding Missouri. “These forced delay laws create huge obstacles for women,” said Gianino. “They increase cost, time away from jobs, schools, and families. These laws are meant to create these burdens, while proponents like to disguise them as something different.”

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact press@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Teddy Wilson on twitter: @txindyjourno

  • fiona64

    We’re talking about just two more days

    Yep. Two more days that the woman may not be able to be away from work if she had to travel to a clinic. Two more days that imply women are too stupid to obtain medical care without some paternalistic twit assuming that she hasn’t *already* “reflected on making the right decision.”

    Barriers to care are ridiculous and unnecessary.

    The bill includes an exemption for victims of rape or incests, but only if the victim has reported the crime to law enforcement.

    And yet another unnecessary barrier to care. There are many reasons why a woman may not have reported the incident to law enforcement … not the least of which is the amount of shaming heaped upon rape victims.

    These anti-choice lawmakers need to stop practicing medicine without a license.

    • HeilMary1

      Why no two-day waiting periods for every Viagra pill so that would-be adulterers and pedophiles get attacks of guilty-consciences?? Why no wife-, bishop-, parishioner- and police-notifications for Viagra prescriptions??

      • CJ99

        That would be a good idea. on top of each drugstore there could be a giant electronic billboard on which the reciepients of viagra’s names could be posted to inform them their prescription is ready for pickup.

  • Ivy Mike

    PZ Myers had the best quote about forced ultrasounds…

    “The whole idea that ultrasounds might have a persuasive effect is built on the infantilization of women: if I show you a picture of your big-eyed placid fetus, you’ll break down in tears, fall in love with that grainy image (because you’re a woman, and that’s what you do, coo over baby pictures), and abort the abortion.
    What the data actually show, though, is that women think seriously about the consequences of their decisions and make choices confidently — and that maybe significant life-changing decisions will not be lightly swayed by a jebus-lovin’ state senator telling doctors to make pregnant women stare at flickering gray images.”

    …And, as a bonus, he’s provided me with yet another forced-birth logical fallacy, which I shall call the “Baby Pictures Fallacy”. It’s the assumption that you can stop abortions by making a woman look at an ultrasound image, because women like baby pictures.

    • fiona64

      See, that kind of thing would have the exact opposite effect on me: “Look, Fiona, there’s your baby.” “That’s not a baby, that’s an embryo … and I want it the hell out of me.”

      I am completely uninterested in “baby pictures,” whether in utero or ex utero. I’d far rather look at puppies and kittens.

      • RonPaul2012

        Yeah, I was just reading Secular pro-life and some dude who claims to be pro-choice was saying that pro-choicers are ’emotionally dishonest’ when they say that ‘it’s just a clump of cells’ which is why they invent analogies such as the ‘violinist’ scenario, because it is ‘uncomfortable’ for them to admit that they are actually killing a baby…

        No. We really do (for the most part) believe that it is a clump of cells. At least, pre-viability.

    • CJ99

      I have no doubt humiliating women in every way possible is just as big a factor in they misogynist thinking.

  • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

    I love the assumption that women just go into these clinics without any thought to what they’re doing in there. No, their silly little heads need Papa David Sater to indoctrinate them with anti-science.


    • CJ99

      those who insist on these laws are more likely to be believers in papa smurf & cant keep their own little blue smurf in their pants. but really you’re right, they do believe people are empty headed mannequins “who need to be controlled”.

    • RonPaul2012

      Yes, and that is often the reasoning given when I ask those who say that ‘abortion is murder’ what kind of punishment women should get for murdering their innocent unborn babies..

      They say ‘no woman should go to jail for murder because they have been brainwashed that it’s just a clump of cells’

      Ok, since when is ‘ignorance’ an excuse for MURDER???

      • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

        Fun fact: In areas where abortion is illegal, the rate of infanticide is gigantic.

        • RonPaul2012


          Statistical Analysis – United States

          Statistically, the United States ranks high on the list of countries whose inhabitants kill their children. For infants under the age of one year, the American homicide rate is 11th in the world, while for ages one through four it is 1st and for ages five through fourteen it is fourth. From 1968 to 1975, infanticide of all ages accounted for almost 3.2% of all reported homicides in the United States.

          The 1980’s followed similar trends. Whereby overall homicide rates were decreasing in the United States, the rate at which parents were killing their children was increasing, In 1983, over six hundred children were reported killed by their parents, and from 1982-1987, approximately 1.1% of all homicides were children under the age of one year of age. When the homicide of a child was committed by a parent, it was the younger age child who was in the greater danger of being killed, while if the killer was a non-parent, then the victim was generally older.

          The characterization of the type of parent that is likely to kill their child has changed little over the years. As far back as the middle ages, the children of the poor “Were by far the most common victims of the parental negligence and despair.” Today, infanticide is still most commonly seen in areas of severe poverty.

          And just as infanticide was described as a crime that was committed by the mother in medieval times, such a likelihood remains true today. Although men are more likely to murder in general, statistical review of prosecutions show that infanticide is usually committed by the mother. When mothers killed their children, however, the victim was usually a newborn baby or younger infant. Some research shows that for murders of children over the age of one year in the United States, white fathers were the perpetrators 10% more often than white mothers, and black fathers 50% more than black mothers.

          Other risk factors can include young maternal age, low level of education and employment, and signs of psychopathology, such as alcoholism, drug abuse or other criminal behavior. The most common method of killing children over the ages has been head trauma, strangulation and drowning. Most of the murders today are committed with the use of the mother’s hands, either by strangulation or physical punishment.

  • http://www.friv2friv3friv4.com/ friv 2 friv 3 friv 4

    I love the assumption that women just go into these clinics without any thought to what they’re doing in there.