JEFFERSON CITY - Less than 12 hours after the state Senate agreed to a 24-hour waiting period for a woman who wants an abortion, the House passed the final version of the bill and sent it to the governor's desk.
But that's where it is likely to stop, because Democratic Gov. Bob Holden has vowed to veto any anti-abortion legislation that comes through the legislature.
"The governor has indicated he is likely to veto the bill," said Holden's spokeswoman Mary Still. "He has constitutional concerns and privacy concerns."
This is the first major anti-abortion measure to pass the new Republican-controlled legislature. The last abortion bill to reach the governor's desk outlawed partial birth abortions. Gov. Mel Carnahan vetoed that law in 1999, but the legislature had enough support to override it.
This year's bill requires a woman to meet in person with a doctor, sign a consent form and wait at least one day before an abortion can be done.
"This bill is for all children of Missouri, including the unborn children, but this is also for all the women of the state to protect them before they go through an irreversible proceedure," said Susan Phillips, R-Kansas City and the House sponsor of the bill.
The House gave final approval by a 116-34 vote, five more than the amount needed to override the governor's veto. The Senate stayed late Wednesday night to finish the bill after 2:30 a.m. Thursday. It passed 23-6, just one vote more than what would be needed to override.
Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau, said abortion issues are among the most controversial the Senate takes up.
"Some have called abortion the bloody crossroads of American politics and when we get near it, tempers flare and debate takes a long time," Kinder said. "I hope we're not here any more mornings at 2 a.m."
The House, however, only took less than an hour to finalize the bill.
Opponents said the bill would decrease the number of abortions in the state, because women already have to travel a long way to meet with a doctor who is willing to perform the abortion. Forcing those women to stay overnight and not have the procedure until the next day will be too expensive, opponents argued.
"I find it insulting and dismaying for the children of this state that we would spend time trying to have the state act as a parent for women and undermining their ability to get medical attention," said Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson, D-Columbia and longtime supporter of women's rights. "It is insulting that we treat the decision-making abilities of women separate from other populations in this state."