JEFFERSON CITY — It was a nice coincidence for Missouri Right to Life, an anti-abortion political action committee, that they happened to schedule a rally on the same day the House passed two bills adding restrictions to abortions.
Passing 115 to 39, the first bill would raise the mandatory waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.
If the bill were to become law, Missouri would be tied with South Dakota and Utah as the state with the longest waiting period for an abortion.
The other bill would require a minor seeking an abortion to have both parents notified five days before the procedure; it passed by a margin of 116 to 36.
Pam Fichter, president for the advocacy group, said the rally was planned in the summer and just happened to coincide with the House’s schedule, but she said the group was happy they were here to see the passage of these bills.
"It’s always a special bonus and thrill for our members to be able to go and witness a bill being passed in any chamber while we’re here," she said. "The pro-life legislators are aware we are here today, and if that influences their scheduling, we’re very appreciative when we do have that opportunity."
Susan Klein, the legislative liaison for the advocacy group, said it was an exciting day because the abortion bills in the House and rally coincided.
"Our legislators are doing a great job of moving pro-life legislation through the House and working on it in the Senate," Klein said.
Sara Walsh, a volunteer for the PAC, took off work today to be at the Capitol to show her support for abortion legislation.
She said she was supportive of the bill requiring a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions because it would allow women more time to consider the life-changing decision of getting an abortion.
Missouri Right to Life, which was founded in 1974, organizes a rally at the Capitol every year, inviting other anti-abortion groups from around Missouri.
"We want to provide the pro-life citizens of Missouri an opportunity to come together in an organized fashion and lobby our legislators for the pro-life legislation we’re working on in this particular session," Fichter said.
Michelle Jones and her husband, John Jones, both came to talk with their legislators and support more abortion restrictions. Michelle Jones homeschools her two children. She brought them to rally as a field trip to show them about how the government operates.
John Jones, a pastor for Cadet Baptist Church, said they want to show their legislators that they are behind them and their anti-abortion bills.
Michelle and John Jones live in Washington County and drove about 2 1/2 hours to come to the Capitol for the rally.
"But it’s worth (the trip) when we look at how many human lives have been lost to legalized abortion since 1973," John Jones said in reference to the year Roe v. Wade was decided. "They’ve not been able to speak for themselves. It’s well worth our efforts."