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Missouri Lawmakers Pass 72-Hour Abortion Wait Period

Missouri's Republican-controlled Legislature gave final approval Wednesday to legislation requiring a woman to wait three days after first seeing a doctor before having an abortion. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has not said whether he will sign or veto it.

The measure would triple Missouri's current 24-hour waiting period and put the state in line with Utah and South Dakota as the only states to mandate a 72-hour time frame. Missouri currently has only one clinic performing elective abortions.

The House voted 111-39 in favor of the measure Wednesday, sending it to Nixon, who has previously allowed other abortion restrictions to become law without his signature. That included a measure last year that requires doctors to be in the room for the initial dose of a drug used in medical abortions.

Nixon said Tuesday that he would review the extended waiting period and act in a manner consistent with his other actions on abortion legislation.

Senators passed the waiting period measure earlier this week after Democrats agreed to stop filibustering the bill in exchange for Republicans dropping other measures the Democrats opposed, related to union fees and photo identification requirements for elections.

Under both current law and the new legislation, Missouri's abortion waiting period doesn't apply in instances deemed by a doctor to be a medical emergency. But women do have to wait in cases of rape and incest.

— The Associated Press