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Missouri high court upholds 24-hour informed consent abortion law

[JURIST] The Missouri Supreme Court [official website] has upheld a 24-hour informed consent abortion law [text] in a unanimous decision, ruling that the law does not violate the Missouri constitution [text]. The law requires doctors to wait 24 hours after consulting with women before performing abortions. Planned Parenthood [advocacy website] challenged the law, arguing that the consultation requirements deprive people of privacy and liberty rights and are unconstitutionally vague could allow for prosecution of physicians for something that they may not understand. The court rejected these arguments, ruling that no further duty is placed on abortion physicians than they already have under common law.

Planned Parenthood has also challenged the 24-hour waiting period in federal court. In November, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] an injunction [JURIST report] that allowed the law to take effect but blocked language describing what doctors must discuss with patients. That injunction will expire 10 days after the Missouri court's decision, handed down Tuesday. Currently 24 states require patients and physicians to wait a certain amount of time between the initial counseling session and the abortion procedure. AP has more. Matt Franck of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has local coverage.

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