24-hour wait for abortion is upheld in Missouri
By Matt Franck
POST-DISPATCH JEFFERSON CITY BUREAU
Tuesday, Feb. 28 2006
The measure, which passed in 2003, requires doctors to mention any "physical,
psychological or situational" risk factor associated with an abortion. It also
requires a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion.
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the waiting period is
constitutional and that doctors may use their own judgment to decide what risk
factors to discuss with a patient.
The Missouri Supreme Court upheld on Tuesday a state law requiring women to
wait 24 hours for an abortion, dismissing claims that the statute is too vague
for physicians to interpret.
The continued disagreement centers on exactly what doctors must discuss with
patients who are waiting for an abortion. The 2003 law requires doctors to
mention any "physical, psychological or situational" risk factors associated
with the procedure.
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood have argued that the law's requirements are
vague, making it necessary for doctors to discuss an "infinite array" of issues
to avoid being prosecuted.
But the Missouri high court rejected that assertion in its ruling, saying the
law lets a doctor "exercise his or her professional judgment" in deciding what
risk factors to discuss.
The ruling essentially shifts the legal battle to federal court, which is still
considering whether the law provides clear directives to doctors.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright ruled that until the matter can
be resolved, portions of the law should be placed on hold. Wright did, however,
allow the 24-hour waiting period to be enforced.
Alison Gee of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region said that without that
clarification, doctors have been fearful that they would be unable to satisfy
every requirement of the statute.
But Gee said she is disappointed that the 24-hour waiting period was upheld.
She said such a wait places "barriers in the way of women who are seeking a
legal medical service."
In ruling in favor of a 24-hour waiting period, the court stated that the
provision does not violate the Missouri Constitution. The Missouri high court
also cited a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a similar Pennsylvania
The Missouri law passed in September 2003 after the Legislature overrode a veto
by then-Gov. Bob Holden. Since that time, the law has bounced around the
courts. For most of the past two years, judges have ruled that the law could
not be enforced.
GOP - GET YOUR HANDS OFF THEIR UTERUSES!!! (or is it uteri?)
Some day, the sheeple in this country will wake up and realize that they're living in a fascist state.
Oh, and speaking of waiting periods, is there any chance that we can extend the current 7-day waiting period to 14 days for gun purchases? Even some Constitutional rights (that are clearly spelled out) require restrictions.
(Objections to these types of reasonable restrictions on abortion are what demonstrates the extremist positions of the "progressives.")
ARC: St Wendeler