NARAL Pro-Choice America

Shortcut Navigation:

Get Email Updates


Donate now to support NARAL Pro-Choice America

Anti-choice groups are attacking women’s rights everywhere. Your gift helps us fight back!

Donate Now


Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delay

A woman may not receive abortion services until at least 72 hours after receiving a state-mandated lecture containing medically inaccurate information from the abortion provider.  The provider is required to discuss with her the "indicators and contra-indicators, and risk factors including any physical, psychological, or situational factors for the proposed procedure and the use of medications, including but not limited to mifepristone, in light of her medical history and medical condition."  The law also requires the woman to receive materials that state that "the life of each human being begins at conception.  Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being."  Mo. Rev. Stat. § 188.039 (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 2014).

An earlier version of the law, requiring a 24-hour mandatory delay, was challenged in two cases.  The state supreme court decided that both the waiting period and the biased-counseling requirements are constitutional and enforceable.  Reprod. Health Servs. of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, Inc. v. Nixon, 185.S.W.3d 685 (Mo. Feb. 28, 2006).  A federal district court issued a preliminary injunction against the biased-counseling portion of the law.  The injunction expired 10 days after the state court decision, so the biased-counseling law is in effect.  Reprod. Health Servs. of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, Inc. v. Nixon, No. 03-4210-CV-C-SOW (W.D. Mo. Dec. 1, 2005) (order granting preliminary injunction).

In addition, an earlier law that has since been repealed provided that a woman may not receive abortion care until after the attending physician confirms whether she is pregnant and if so, informs her of the particular risks associated with the procedure, including alternatives to abortion.  Mo. Ann. Stat. § 188.039 (Enacted 1979; Repealed 2003).  A court held that this provision is unconstitutional.  Reprod. Health Servs. v. Webster, 662 F. Supp. 407 (W.D. Mo. 1987).

Bookmark and Share

©2016 NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation   Copyright Information