Missouri Senate opposes rape exemption in 72-hour abortion waiting period bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Senate debated legislation on Tuesday evening that would triple the state’s current one day waiting period for a woman to have an abortion.

The legislation, carried in the Senate by Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, would extend the waiting period to 72 hours. Senate Republicans defeated an amendment to the bill that would have exempted victims of rape and incest from the waiting period.

“I’m appalled,” said Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, who filed the amendment, said of its opposition.

Sater said he believes a woman who has been raped should have the same services made available to her that are available “to other pregnant women going through a crisis,” but that Senate Democrats had omitted his biggest concern.

“There has been no talk about the unborn child. Not one person has mentioned anything about the unborn child. Should the unborn child of rape victim have different a life or be less important than another unborn child? I don’t believe so,” he said. “I think they’re both equal and should be treated as such.”

The amendment was opposed on a party line vote, and the bill was ultimately put aside for further debate. If enacted, the bill would make Missouri the third state to have such a waiting period, joining South Dakota and Utah.

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