Gov. Jay Nixon Vetoes Missouri Abortion Bill HB 1307, Which Would've Tripled Waiting Times

Temporarily ending a battle that stretched through the entirety of the spring legislative session, Missouri's Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed an abortion bill Wednesday, HB 1307, whichi would have upped the abortion waiting period to 72 hours from 24. Nixon had previously expressed concerns about signing the bill into law, calling it an "extreme measure" because it did not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest. He echoed those sentiments in his veto message issued on Wednesday.

"Senate Committee Substitute for House Committee Substitute for House Bill Nos. 1307 & 1313 is a disrespectful measure that would unnecessarily prolong the suffering of rape and incest victims and jeopardize the health and wellbeing of women," Nixon wrote in his message.

If HB 1307 had passed, Missouri would have landed alongside Utah and South Dakota as having the longest mandatory delay in the country. Utah wrote in exceptions for rape and incest, though South Dakota's bill did not. Nixon called the lack of exceptions a "glaring omission" that is "wholly insensitive to women."

Nixon skirted commenting on abortions outside of rape and incest, which with Missouri's political climate was likely a wise choice. Republicans made it clear in the last session that they would do everything they could to squash abortion in the state. This session, the Republican-held legislature introduced 32 abortion-related bills to regulate the one standalone clinic left in the state.

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So while it is unclear if the Democratic governor would have wholeheartedly supported the bill had the exceptions in place, Nixon's statement made it clear that he saw the pervasive misogyny behind HB 1307.

Underlying this bill, and the expansion of the governmental interference it would mandate, is a paternalistic presumption that rape and incest victims are somehow unable to grasp the horror that has befallen them, and that government must force them to take more time to come to grips with their plight. That misplaced paternalism defies logic. It is patently unreasonable to presuppose that rape and incest victims would need to take more time to think about the reality, and the horror, of their heartbreaking situation.

The veto ends a hard vehement push-back against the bill from reproductive rights activists in the state. Just as the Missouri House sent HB 1307 to the governor's desk, protestors waged a 72-hour "women's filibuster," which went on non-stop on the Capitol steps.