I recently attended my first Senate hearing regarding Senate Bill 519, which would extend the current mandatory waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 72 hours.
People in favor and opposition of this bill gave their testimony before the Judiciary Committee. There were testimonies on both sides, from women who had an abortion that regretted and from women who did not regret their decision.
There were faith-based testimonies from men and women, young and old. At some points throughout the hearing, I found myself feeling extremely frustrated, whether from the leading questions asked by the Judiciary Committee or the consistent undermining of the testimonies supporting the bill that implied women were somehow incapable of making proper medical decisions without the help of our politicians.
There were testimonies in favor of the bill comparing an abortion to everything from knee surgery to buying a house. And while the overarching theme of these testimonies was that abortion is a major decision in a woman’s life that requires time to make a proper decision, from what I recall, there are no 72-hour mandatory waiting periods for having knee surgery or buying a house.
It appears the supporters of this bill either doubt a woman’s decision-making ability within the 24 hours already required by law, or simply want to make more difficult an already emotionally, physically and mentally difficult decision.
Abortion is a controversial subject and a deeply personal and complex decision for the women making it. But I have a hard time coming to terms with the idea that a politician can make up a number on how long a woman needs to make a decision that she probably already knows the answer to well before meeting with a doctor.
I’m tired of politicians doubting us women and coming between us and our medical decisions. I would encourage Boone County residents to contact Sen. Kurt Schaefer and ask him to vote "no" on SB519.
Ellie Busch is an MU student.