(AP/Susan Walsh)

"Hopefully this bill will go down in flames": Missouri activists stage 72-hour filibuster against extreme abortion restrictions

“You’re acting like women are stupid, like women are idiots," said one lawmaker who opposes the restrictions


Katie McDonough
May 13, 2014 1:20AM (UTC)

Reproductive rights advocates in Missouri are currently staging a 72-hour "women's filibuster" against a measure that would force women to wait three days and make two separate clinic visits before being able to access abortion care. The overwhelming majority of women who choose to terminate their pregnancies do so with great confidence in their decisions, but mandatory waiting period laws are popular with anti-choice lawmakers because they make accessing abortion much more difficult -- particularly for low-income women and women in rural areas. Forcing a woman to wait multiple days before she can get an abortion means that she will have to take time off work, secure transportation to and from the clinic for repeat visits, find housing or lodging if the clinic isn't near her home and make other arrangements -- from childcare to saving for gas money -- just to access basic medical care.

These laws are a scam, and state Democrats and activists know it. Which is precisely why they're filibustering the measure on the steps of the Missouri State Capitol.

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But the pushback against the extreme waiting period -- only Utah and South Dakota have 72-hour waiting periods in place -- has been strong from the start. During the debate on the measure in January, women lined up to voice their dissent.

“I would like you to be able to trust in my opinions,” Dina van der Zalm, a graduate student at the University of Missouri, said during the hearing. “Since this bill … makes the assumption that women are not capable of making difficult decisions without the aid of politicians requiring additional time — an additional three days — to really think it through, then I can only assume that you’re not going to legitimately listen [to] or value the opinions I would like to state today."

State Democrats came out just as strong against the measure. “You’re acting like women are stupid, like women are idiots,” Missouri state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said during the debate on the measure. “Hopefully this bill goes down in flames.”

You can watch the filibuster -- which is targeting the 30 anti-choice restrictions introduced in the state Legislature this session -- here:


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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