Leon County Judge Sets Trial Date for Lawsuit Challenging 2015 Florida Abortion Law

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A lawsuit arguing the constitutionality of a 2015 abortion law (HB 633) that requires a 24 hour waiting period is set for trial next year. The trial was set in an order issued by Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey on Wednesday.

The lawsuit was filed by two women’s health clinics in Florida and a group of medical students shortly after the law was signed by then Governor Rick Scott.

After being filed through the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court of Leon County in 2015, an order was issued that granted the motion brought forth by the lawsuit. After the decision by the 2nd Circuit Court, it was backed by an injunction from the Florida Supreme Court in 2017. The Supreme Court issued the injunction concluding that the law was unconstitutional based off the notion that it “implicates the fundamental right to privacy.”

Almost a year later in 2018, the lawsuit returned to the 2nd Circuit Court where Judge Terry Lewis issued a summary that ultimately decided the case in favor of the plaintiffs without a full trial. Following Lewis’ decision, the case was moved again to the 1st District Court of Appeal in 2019 where the decision was reversed and sent back to circuit court to await trial, as reported by the News Service of Florida.

The News Service’s report also includes a statement made by Judge Timothy Osterhaus in the Appeal Court’s decision in favor of the law that states, “Rather than singling out and burdening abortion procedures with arbitrary requirements, the state’s evidence indicates that the 24-hour law brings abortion procedures in Florida into compliance with medical informed consent standards and tangibly improves health outcomes for women.”

In his dissent, former Circuit Judge James Wolf argued, “There is simply no evidence supporting the concept that information regarding abortion is more complex and needs more time to be understood versus other complex medical procedures. Absent such evidence, a restriction targeting a woman’s right to choose suggests that the act is based on nothing more than hostility toward the constitutionally protected abortion procedure.”

With Dempsey’s order, a trial will begin on April 4th, 2022 to determine the next steps regarding the mandatory delay law in Florida.

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]








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