Missouri Governor Vetoes Pro-Life Bill, Legislature May Override It

(Photo: Office of Governor Jay Nixon)Jay Nixon, governor of Missouri.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that if enacted would have increased the waiting period for an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Last week, Nixon vetoed House Bill 1307 & 1313, specifically taking issue with the absence of an exemption for women seeking abortions on the basis of rape or incest.

Scott Holste, press secretary for Nixon, directed The Christian Post to a statement the governor made regarding his veto.

"I cannot condone the absence of an exemption for rape and incest in Senate Committee Substitute for House Committee Substitute for House Bill Nos. 1307 & 1313," stated Nixon.

"This glaring omission is wholly insensitive to women who find themselves in horrific circumstances, and demonstrates a callous disregard for their wellbeing."

Nixon also took issue with the tripling of the length of the waiting period, arguing in his statement that this increases the likelihood of complications.

"A woman's health could be unnecessarily jeopardized by extending the mandatory delay," stated Nixon.

"Lengthening the mandated delay is in contravention of sound medical advice and forces government even further into the relationship between the physician and the woman."

Sponsored chiefly by State Representative Kevin Elmer, HB 1307 called for the extension of the waiting period for the abortion procedure in Missouri from one day to three days.

"Currently, there is a minimum 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion. This bill increases the minimum waiting period to 72 hours," read HB 1307.

"The bill specifies that if any or all of these provisions are ever temporarily or permanently restrained or enjoined by judicial order, the provisions must be enforced as though the restrained or enjoined provisions had not been adopted but whenever the temporary or permanent retraining order or injunction is stayed or dissolved, or otherwise ceases to have effect, the provisions must have full force and effect."

As Elmer introduced his bill in the Missouri House, State Senator David Sater introduced an identical bill in the Missouri Senate.

In May, the Senate passed the bill in a vote of 22 ayes to 9 nays and then the House passed it in a vote of 111 ayes to 39 nays.

In a statement, Sater said he was "deeply disappointed with Governor Nixon's veto of HBs 1307 & 1313" and felt "Nixon decides to be pro-life or pro-choice depending on the next election."

"HBs 1307 & 1313 simply extend that waiting period to 72 hours and in no way changes the existing law allowing a victim to seek medical treatment or contraception," stated Sater.

"Cases involving sexual assault are extremely serious and sensitive. We must also remember that there have been tens of millions of abortions performed since 1973 that were not the result of sexual assault."

Sater also commented that he believed the bill has sufficient support in both houses of the Legislature to overrule the veto.

"HBs 1307 & 1313 passed with overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and the House, and I am confident my colleagues will again vote in September in support of life," stated Sater.

Regarding the possibility of the veto being overturned, Holste of Nixon's office told CP that the governor "will leave discussion of an override attempt to members of the Legislature."