Missouri Governor Vetoes 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon last week vetoed a 3-day waiting period for abortions and issued a fiery response to state lawmakers who signed off on the measure. Now, the Republican-led legislature is threatening to override when Missouri's state session resumes next term.
The bill was passed by the Missouri legislature in May. It was one of 30 anti-abortion bills proposed by this session alone. Had Governor Nixon signed the bill, Missouri would have joined South Dakota in having the longest waiting period for an abortion with no exception for rape or incest. As it stands, Missouri's current 24-hour waiting period gives no special consideration to victims of rape or incest.
In his veto letter, Gov. Nixon deemed the 24-hour waiting period "extensive" and blasted lawmakers for venturing to triple the mandatory wait time. "I cannot condone the absence of an exception for rape and incest," the Governor stated. "This glaring omission is wholly insensitive to women who find themselves in horrific circumstances, and demonstrates a callous disregard for their well-being."
Gov. Nixon charged that the new law would ultimately re-victimize survivors, saying "government would mandate that she, too, endure more suffering, even after she has undergone the extensive counseling and consent process that already exists under Missouri law."
The Missouri state legislature passed the original bill only one vote shy of a super majority--enough to override of the Governor's veto next session. A new poll, however, conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that 50 percent of Missourians oppose the 72-hour waiting period, while 42 percent support it. Additionally, 71 percent of voters said they wanted to see the state legislature move on to economic issues instead of attempting to override the Governor's veto.
Media Resources: Feminist News Wire, 5/15/14; USA Today, 7/3/14; The Missouri Times, 7/8/14; Office of Missouri Governor, 7/2/14
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .