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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-29-04

Missouri 24-Hour Waiting Period Law Suspended Pending Court Case

A Missouri mandatory delay for abortion services law was suspended last Tuesday pending the outcome of a legal challenge filed by two Planned Parenthood affiliates. The law, which mandates a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, had previously been suspended by US District Judge Scott O. Wright, according to Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. However, an appeals court dissolved the restraining order in late May, allowing the bill to take effect. The Associated Press reports that the most recent suspension of the 24-hour waiting period law was put in place to allow Planned Parenthood to challenge the law’s constitutionality in state court.

The legislation being challenged was enacted last year when Missouri legislators overrode Governor Bob Holden’s veto. The law requires women to sign a consent form 24 hours before undergoing an abortion procedure and requires doctors to inform patients about “physical, psychological or situational risk factors involved in abortions.” In addition, according to the bill, doctors are required to have at minimum $500,000 in medical malpractice insurance.

Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region claims that the mandatory 24-hour waiting period law places an undue burden on women seeking abortions, could have a ‘cruel impact’ on victims of rape, would not decrease the number of abortions, and could pose a threat to the health of women. Current law in Missouri already requires that patients are informed of all options and of the risks inherent in a procedure before it is performed.

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Media Resources: Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region press release 6/22/04, 6/23/04; Associated Press 6/24/04; MO HB 156


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