In the state of Missouri, a young woman named Kyla was given the chance to save her child’s life and chose to do just that.
Back in 2012, Kyla, who declined to provide her last name, reached out to St. Louis Planned Parenthood with the intent of ending her unplanned pregnancy. Due to Missouri state law, she was required to wait 24 hours after the first consultation before the procedure could take place. It was during this time that she did some research and visited a pregnancy resource center where she was able to view the ultrasound of her child – 4 months along at this point.
Kyla believes that if it were not for the requirement to wait she would have aborted her child on the day she showed up at Planned Parenthood. Waiting 24 hours changed Kyla’s mind about saving her now three year-old daughter’s life and also changed her opinion of abortion.
While not everyone pregnant woman’s mind has changed about abortion due to Missouri’s abortion restrictions, the number of lives saved is significant.
Since 2012, laws have changed in Missouri to create more restrictions on abortion and the result is a rate of abortion much lower than the national average. As of December 1, 2015, Missouri law requires a 72 hour waiting period before an abortion can be provided. Furthermore, two sessions of counseling must be conducted in person and pregnant women are required to receive information that discourages abortion.
Parents of a minor must now give consent for an abortion, and both public and private insurance policies will provide coverage solely in cases of life endangerment of the mother. Public funding applies only in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.
Because of these restrictions, the number of abortions in Missouri has dropped significantly lower than the national average. Of women in the U.S. aged 15 to 44, about 17 out of every 1,000 will have a legal abortion. In Missouri, the rate has declined to 5 out of every 1,000 women.
By comparison, the state of Oregon currently has no restrictions on abortions, and it remains legal throughout all 9 months of pregnancy. The rate of legal abortion in the state is only slightly below the national average – 14 out of every 1,000 women.
The laws in Missouri have created the incentive and opportunity to save lives that the state of Oregon does not provide. Even a small window of time to consider options other than abortion saved the life of Kyla’s daughter. She stated, “When you have an abortion, even though the baby is gone, it still lies within your heart, so it’s permanent.”