Missouri Is About to Pass One of the Worst Abortion Laws in the Nation

Another day, another fascinating turn in Who Wants to Be America’s Next Top Demented Misogynistic Zealot, a seemingly unending competition featuring conservative lawmakers from all across our great country.

This week, Missouri Republicans — a group that has already passed some of the harshest abortion restrictions in the country and shut down all but one clinic in the state — are hoping to pass a new law requiring women to wait 72 hours between visiting an abortion clinic for mandatory counseling and getting an abortion procedure. There will be no exception for cases of rape and incest, because of course there won’t be.

Like every other insidious conservative law that purports to protect women while coincidentally just happening to limit their abortion access, waiting period laws do not benefit women in any way. They’re meant to discourage women from getting abortions, which, obviously, does active and measurable harm. For this reason, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the law in July, calling it “extreme and disrespectful” and noting that it “serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women.” Yeah. Pretty much. Keep in mind, also, that Missouri already has a 24-hour waiting period on the books.

As Molly Redden reports at Mother Jones, GOP lawmakers will not let the veto or common decency halt their pro-fetus crusade: they’ve called a special session to override the former (having long ago forsaken the latter). Terrifyingly, it could work:

A veto override is nearly certain: In May, when the bill first passed, it received a veto-proof majority in the House and was one vote shy of this benchmark in the Senate; a Republican senator who was absent that day intends to support the bill.

“A 72-hour waiting period is completely absurd,” Democratic Sen. Jolie Justus told Mother Jones. “The reality is, they simply want to outlaw abortion in the state of Missouri.”

Republican Rep. Kevin Elmer, the bill’s sponsor in the House, is totally psyched about the fact that women may soon be forced to make two separate trips to St. Louis, the site of the state’s only abortion clinic, three days apart — which will put a huge burden on women who lack the economic means to afford both trips and/or several days’ accommodations. He is equally psyched that some of these women may have been victims of rape or incest, because God loves all gestating zygotes equally. As he told Mother Jones:

“I believe that life begins at conception,” he says. “And I’m not to discriminate against any life because of how it was conceived. I don’t disregard the significance of the tragic events that those women suffer from. But we’re still weighing that against the right of the unborn child to live…We’re asking all mothers just to give it another 48 hours to think about what is it they’re doing when they kill their unborn child.”

We’re just asking women to spend 48 additional hours carrying their rapists’ unborn child because, you know, they won’t think long and hard about their own reproductive decisions if they’re not forced to by the government! We’re just intentionally erecting byzantine obstacles around women’s access to safe and legal abortion because we fear female autonomy! That’s all!

A vote could come as early as September 10. If the Legislature is able to successfully override Gov. Nixon’s vet, Missouri will become the third state to impose a three-day waiting period on abortion. Everything is terrible.

Image via Getty.

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