Senate panel approves abortion waiting-period

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Sen. Anitere Flores’ bill requiring women seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours after a face-to-face meeting with their doctor is on its way to the Senate floor.

The Fiscal Policy Committee approved SB 724 Monday on a party-line vote.

Current law allows women to decline discussing the stage of fetal development and possible side effects of an abortion, but Flores’s proposal mandates a meeting take place before performing the abortion.

Sen. Gwen Margolis tried to amend Flores proposal to add exemptions from the waiting period for women raped or impregnated through incest. Flores countered with a substitute amendment requiring a restraining order, police report, medical record or other court order “evidencing that she is obtaining the abortion because she is a victim of rape, incest, domestic violence or human trafficking.”

 The wording of the amendment alarmed Sen. Jeff Clemens.

“The suggestion that some women are going to claim to be raped so that they can have an abortion 24 hours earlier is absolutely absurd and I find it offensive. The fact that some people think that is a regular occurrence is shameful,” Clemens said.

Abortion opponents say the measure is necessary to safeguard women’s health at a time when they are extremely vulnerable and need time to reflect on their decision.

“And when a person has been assaulted in a very violent way I think it is all the more reason to reflect on it,” Sen. Kelli Stargel said in support of Flores’ amendment. “I do want to make sure that there actually had been some sort of violence that has happened against them and that they are not just using that in a very bad way. I agree, that would be awful and I can’t imagine that people would do that, but I also know when someone is desperate they accuse all kinds of different things that may not be accurate.

“So I would like to make sure that we have that certainty before a woman does this and doesn’t have to reflect on the decision that she is making.”

The measure passed on a 6-3 party line vote with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

James Call


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