Kansas City, MO - A new study published yesterday in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health examined the effects of Utah’s 72-hour mandatory delay for abortion, a law also in effect in Missouri. The study found that the 72-hour mandatory delay burdens women and has almost no impact on the decision to end a pregnancy. Women subject to the delay experience more anxiety and incur additional costs associated with two visits.
Missouri became the third state to enact a 72-hour waiting period in 2014 and is now one of five states with the policy. Missouri women seeking to avoid a three-day wait now must travel across state lines, to Kansas, which has a shorter 24-hour delay. Planned Parenthood in St. Louis is the only licensed health center currently providing abortion care in Missouri. The State requires a woman seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours after signing the informed consent paperwork before she can have an abortion.
“Planned Parenthood has long known mandatory delay laws are medically unnecessary and designed to shame a woman who chooses safe and legal abortion. This study is one more piece of scientific evidence that shows laws made for the sake of extreme ideology and not out of medical necessity are harmful to the health and safety of Missourians,” Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri President and CEO Laura McQuade said.
“This study reaffirms what abortion providers in our state already know: Women are confident in their decision when they come to Planned Parenthood, and are unnecessarily burdened by the extreme 72-hour mandatory delay. We do everything we can to mitigate the harmful impact of this delay, but for many women, the mandatory wait increases stress and the cost of abortion,” Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest President and CEO Mary M. Kogut said.
Nationally, sixty percent of women who seek an abortion are already mothers, meaning many face the challenge of arranging child care in addition to travel, lost wages, and the cost of the procedure itself.
Missouri, Utah, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and North Carolina each have a 72-hour mandatory delay. Reproductive health advocates are currently fighting legislation in Louisiana that would triple the mandatory delay to 72 hours.
Planned Parenthood works hard each and every day to provide essential — often life-saving — health care services. Each year over 50,000 women, men and young people came to Planned Parenthood affiliates in Missouri for services such as cancer screenings, STD testing, sex education, and birth control.
Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, 913-345-4693
March 25, 2016