Judge blocks new Florida law that delays abortions 24 hours

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit after Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law.

File photo, Florida Governor Rick Scott

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – A Florida judge says it doesn’t matter that 26 other states have a mandatory waiting period included in their abortion laws. He’s blocking a new Florida law requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion. Judge Charles Francis says Florida’s right of privacy is broader than it is in other states — and the new law would infringe on that right.

Democrats in the state legislature had complained the bill was simply an effort to put up roadblocks to infringe on a woman’s right to an abortion. The ACLU of Florida — one of the groups that challenged the waiting period — says it’s pleased that the judge “saw this law for what it is.” The ACLU says it’s an “unconstitutional attack on the right of Florida women to make their own choices about their health care, including abortion.”

The ACLU said women seeking abortions have already considered their choices. “We were very happy to be able to convince the court again that there was no medical justification for this law, and the court upheld the woman’s right to privacy under the Florida constitution,” ACLU of Florida legal director Nancy Abudi said. “We’re very happy with the court’s decision because it protects their fundamental right to choose and make decisions for themselves regarding their health care.”

Supporters of the law said it would create a reflective period that they hoped would change some women’s minds. They said it would allow women to consider adoption and parenting, rather than ending their pregnancies.

The law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott. It would’ve become law July 1. “The will of the people has been the 24-hour waiting period, and that is our will as well,” said Sol Pitchon, president and CEO of New Life Solutions. The company runs five pregnancy centers in the Tampa Bay area.

Waiting period supporters vow to keep fighting. “That 24-hour waiting period, it’s like a reflection period of time to think things through and also to get some more information,” Pitchon said. “We have found that people never regret is choosing life for their child.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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