Senate Majority Leader may force vote on 72-hour abortion waiting period

Sen. Ron Richard

Sen. Ron Richard

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said Thursday he support using a rarely used Senate procedure to force a vote on legislation that would triple the current 24-hour waiting period for abortions.

“We may have to move to previous question on that one,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I want to do it on a pro-life bill? Absolutely. We just have to make sure that the group is ready for that.”

Richard, who served formerly as House Speaker where the same procedural tactic is used routinely, said it was only his own personal preference to end debate and force a vote and that he had not discussed it with Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, or the rest of the Senate Republican caucus.

“I have not talked to a soul. Dempsey’s probably having a coronary,” he joked.

The procedural maneuver was last used in the Missouri Senate in 2007, again on an anti-abortion and abstinence-only sex education bill. The move could very well sour the GOP’s relationship with Democrats, but Richard said he doesn’t see it that way.

“We’ve gotten along very well,” he said. “We’re just in the majority, and I want to do what I want to do.”

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