Changing Landscape of Abortion Rights: 4 States Tighten Restrictions

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Abortion hasn’t been as much in the news or in politics recently, but it’s still a front where legislative war is being waged. FiveThirtyEight offers a series of maps breaking down the diversity of laws in the U.S. when it comes to abortion. For example, 23 states require 24 hours wait time between mandated counseling and abortions, while until this week only two required 72 hours wait, one for 48 hours, one for 18, and three outlawing the wait time. Mandated counseling requires individuals to be notified of fetal pain in 12 states, negative mental health in 7, and breast cancer risks in five. Basically, what is made clear is the diversity of abortion law within the United States. Which doesn’t mean that there aren’t still states and political interests that would like to see more restrictive measures in place — as the last few months have proven. Here’s a look at four states that have recently taken steps to tighten abortion policy and what it means for residents.

1. Missouri

Missouri passed the most recent abortion restriction on Wednesday night with a vote of 111 to 39 in the state House. The new law added Missouri as the third state in the U.S. requiring women to wait 72 hours after their first appointment before they can schedule an abortion. Only South Dakota and Utah have a waiting period of three days. The law holds true for all women, apart from those whose lives are threatened by the pregnancy. This includes victims of rape and incest.

The sponsor of the bill, state representative Kevin Elmer (R), justified the decision, saying that, “This is a tragic occurrence — rape, incest — and there’s a pregnancy that occurs form it. And I would never say, oh, that’s a great situation,” according to USA Today. “But this is what gets down to the heart of it. The crux of it is for me when does life begin, and how do you value it? For me, even though that tragic situation may occur, I still believe that God is at work in this world and that he’ll let bad things happen and he doesn’t cause it,” he said.