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Doctor must be present for drug-induced abortion in Missouri

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A doctor will have to be present for any drug-induced abortion in Missouri starting on August 28 because Governor Jay Nixon on Friday allowed a measure passed by the state legislature to become law without his signature.

Nixon, a Democrat, said he decided not to sign the law and made no further comment.

The law applies to the so-called "abortion pill," RU-486 or any other abortion inducing chemical.

Missouri will be the 11th state to require doctors be present for administration of the drug, which is allowed up to about nine weeks of pregnancy, said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group.

The law is on hold in Wisconsin and North Dakota due to litigation, she said.

The measure is the latest of a wave of small restrictions on abortion approved by conservative states where opposition to the procedure is strong.

Abortion opponents favor the law in part because it eliminates telemedicine in which a doctor at a different location can observe a patient taking the medication. Abortion rights advocates said the law is unfair to rural residents who live far from an abortion provider and need telemedicine to get early-term abortions, Nash said.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, Missouri with the new law joins Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee.

(Additional reporting By Greg McCune; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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