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A rare abortion rights victory: Missouri Gov. vetoes 72-hour waiting period

Alex Wong / Getty Images News

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a 72-hour waiting period for abortions in Missouri.

Missouri already has a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion, which this law would have tripled in length. In his veto statement, Nixon criticized the law for failing to include an exception for victims of rape and incest.

"Lengthening the already extensive waiting period serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women who have undoubtedly already spent considerable time wrestling with perhaps the most difficult decision they may ever have to make," he said.

Two other states, Utah and South Dakota, have successfully implemented 72-hour waiting periods. Twenty-four other states, including Missouri, have shorter wait time requirements, usually 24 hours.

Many of those laws are part of a larger wave of abortion restrictions that have swept through the country since 2010.

"Abortion access has changed dramatically," says Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. "In 2010, we didn't have any states that had 72 hours waiting periods. We now have two."

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