House bill requires 24-hour waiting period before abortion
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House bill requires 24-hour waiting period before abortion

Date: March 5, 2009
By: Brian Jarvis
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: Missouri gave overwhelming approval on Thursday to a measure that places new restrictions on anyone seeking an abortion. Brian Jarvis in Jefferson City has more. RunTime:3:21
OutCue: SOC

While there was a great deal of philosophical debate, one House member recalled to her colleagues a painful tale of sexual abuse at a young age.

Standing at the microphone, St. Louis County Republican House Member Anne Zerr said that despite being raped in an incident that could have made her pregnant, she supports a bill that would require all Missourians -- even children -- to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and be informed of all their options.  

 

Actuality:  ZERR.WAV
Run Time: 00:38
Description: If I was unfortunate enough to become pregnant as a young girl and I was forced by my mother or father to have an abortion, it would have doubled the violation, the personal violation, because I was born pro-life. And for somebody to destroy a life that I created, that's part of me, to make me do that, who I would have left in the world? Who would I have left in the world to trust? So I really do believe this is going to protect more kids than it harms.
 
Following Zerr's dramatic speech, the House voted nearly three-to-one on Thursday in favor of the bill -- which would also make it a crime punishable by up to ten years in prison to coerce a woman into having an abortion.   
 
Blue Springs Republican Representative Bryan Pratt is sponsoring the bill. 
 
Actuality:  PRATT3.WAV
Run Time: 00:16
Description: So I think no matter what side of this abortion spectrum you're on, my crazy, right-wing pro-life side or anywhere else in the spectrum, I hope everyone can agree that a woman should not be coerced. But you don't care about it being coerced or not. You don't like abortion, and you don't want abortion, so let's just deal with the facts here.

St. Louis City Democrat Jamilah Nasheed.
 
Actuality:  PRATT4.WAV
Run Time: 00:36
Description: You don't like abortions. I do not like abortions. The Republican side does not like abortions. I do not like abortions. However, the Republicans don't want to put in funding available for those individuals if they decide to have a child and cannot take care of them. So while you want them to have the baby, you don't want help provided for those individuals that decide to keep the child. I think we have a very generous welfare program in the state of Missouri. And I just think that we should continue, I think we should try to do everything we can to stop abortion in the state of Missouri. I think we do have a very strong welfare system with corporations. The corporations are getting more welfare than the average mom.

Opponents of the bill pushed for an amendment that would exempt abortion restrictions in cases of rape and incest.

Despite a passionate plea from Kansas City Democrat Beth Low, the amendment was voted down.

Actuality:  LOW.WAV
Run Time: 00:41
Description: Mr. Speaker, if I was raped, I don't know what I would do. But I do know that if I became pregnant as a result of that rape, I would want to be able to make the decision, receive my health care without any state interference. And if I chose to have that baby, so be it, but if I decided I could not live with bearing a child that was a result of an act of violence against me, how dare any member of this room, how dare any member of this room presume they can come into my doctor's office and tell me where life begins, what is right and what is wrong.

Supporters of the bill predict it will pass the Senate with a two-thirds majority strong enough to override a possible governor's veto.  

From Jefferson City, I'm Brian Jarvis.