From Three Days to a Lifetime: A Synopsis of HB 1307

How long should someone contemplate abortion before actually getting one? A couple of hours? A day? A week?

Truly, no time should be dedicated to considering abortion. But until this practice is universally understood to be murder and is not even on the table for discussion, we will have to strive for limiting the likelihood of people choosing to abort. What better way to accomplish this than for an abortion-minded mothers to be legally obligated to seriously consider her choice over the course of not 24 or 36 hours, but 72 hours? That’s three days! Well, that’s what a certain mid-western state has been up to recently.

Two states – South Dakota and Utah – had the longest mandatory waiting period before a woman can have an abortion committed against her child, that being 72 hours. Now these two have been joined by Missouri, which passed a similar law (HB 1307) permitting no concessions, even against babies conceived in rape or incest. Except in the rare occurrence of a court order allowing for the termination of a pregnancy, in which case a 24-hour wait still stands, a mother must postpone her abortion three days so that she has ample time to re-evaluate her options and think about the consequences of her fatal choice.

House Bill 1307 was introduced in January by Rep. Kevin Elmer and passed the House by 115 to 39 votes on March 11. The bill finally passed both chambers on May 14. Brokered as a strategic, bipartisan agreement, Democrats allowed this bill to pass its own pro-abortion block in exchange for Republicans not to push for specific partisan measures during this past session. Republicans deferred pursuing mandatory photo ID for voters (HJR 47) and limitations on unions’ allocation of member dues for political contributions (HB 1617), and Democrats abstained from prolonging their filibuster of HB 1307. Thanks to prudent bipartisan compromise, those youngest of Missourians, residing in the womb, have a better chance for survival as abortive women are obliged to stop and think about the lives growing inside them.

This new law, in addition to the fact that there is only one Planned Parenthood facility left in all of Missouri still performing abortions, will increase the likelihood of mothers choosing life (due to the inconvenient distance and cost of travel to and from the killing center, thanks to the three-day wait). This fact combined with Live Action’s latest exposé of the abortion industry may inspire renewed efforts by the Missouri pro-life movement to shut down this last abortion mill.

Missouri Right to Life exclaimed that HB 1307 “will save babies and protect all women, both adults and minors, from abortion clinics seeking to make a profit on an abortion.”

Recognizing this pro-life threat, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, decried the bill and urged Missouri Gov. Nixon to veto it. Likewise, pro-choice Rep. Gina Mitten asserted that abortions will be more difficult to obtain once this legislation goes into effect.

In its support, Rep. Elmer stated:

This bill is really an effort to balance the rights of the mother with the rights of the unborn child. We are not denying the mother her rights, but simply asking her to give more thought before making a decision that she may later regret.

This legislation waits for approval or veto from the governor, Jay Nixon, and will automatically become law if he ignores it. Pro-life congressmen anticipate a sharper decrease in the number of annual abortions in Missouri once HB 1307 is implemented. Missouri abortion rates have been decreasing since 2008 (even as far back as 1991, with a 35% downsize since then), with over 97% of Missouri counties now abortion facility-free. Numerous pro-life victories have been secured, and Missouri pro-lifers are expecting to win more in the years to come.

To summarize, HB 1307 is scheduled to take effect in August. Since it triples the required time between abortion consultation and the actual fatal procedure, there is hope that each reluctant mother will pursue alternatives to abortion (e.g., CPCs and maternity homes) and choose life for her baby.

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For a deeper look into Missouri’s recent pro-life victories, check out HB 1192. This bill protects the constitutional rights of alternatives to abortion, such as counseling and maternal agencies, and holds families more accountable to minors facing unplanned pregnancies.

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