On Wednesday, the Missouri legislature voted to become one of three states to require a 72-hour wait period before a woman can have an abortion. In Missouri and South Dakota, there are no exceptions for rape or incest.
Governor Nixon vetoed the bill in July, but both the House and the Senate voted to override that veto. I’ve been covering the bill for both the Columbia Missourian and the Jefferson City News Tribune, so I was in each chamber as representatives debated the bill in the House and Democrats filibustered it in the Senate.
Here’s a lesson in breaking news, kids: when you’ve got 45 minutes to turn a story after the House votes, you can’t include every argument posed in a 90-minute debate on the floor. One representative whose words caught my attention but did not make the published article was Rep. John McCaherty, a Republican from High Ridge. Here’s what he said on the 72-hour wait period:
By the way, there are two states that have this law, South Dakota and Utah. Both of those states [laws] are in effect at this time unchallenged in the courts, just in case anybody’s interested in an actual fact instead of rhetoric. Because we hear a lot of rhetoric about what we’re doing and what we should be doing or not be doing… we’re not extending it 72 hours, we’re extending it 48 hours*. It’s a 72 hour total.
I heard that three days of thinking about it is really too much to ask. Really? I bought a vacuum one time from a salesman that came by my house and knocked on the door and came in and gave us a free clean. I had 72 hours to change my mind whether or not I wanted to purchase a vacuum. But it’s too long to decide whether or not somebody lives or dies.
And so we’re going to vote how we’re going to vote, and we’re not going to change anybody’s mind here, but let’s keep the facts the facts.
Here’s the full audio for McCaherty’s talk, if you’d like to hear it for yourself:
*True. Currently, Missouri law requires a 24-hour wait period before abortions.