Judge Upholds Florida Abortion Waiting-Period Law

Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey upheld a Florida law requiring women to wait 24 hours before proceeding with an abortion. The judge tossed a lawsuit challenging the Florida law after a 7-year battle. The law was signed by then-Governor Rick Scott (R) in 2015.

Dempsey said that the plaintiffs were not entitled to a stay on the ruling as they could not demonstrate that “irreparable harm” would be caused, as well as other states having legal waiting periods on the books.

“They merely argue that a stay would avoid harm to ‘Floridians’ privacy rights before the appellate courts have the opportunity to weigh in.’ But the state, not the plaintiffs, represents ‘Floridians.’ If plaintiffs want the extraordinary remedy of a stay, they must demonstrate why they will be harmed absent a stay. They have not done so,” Dempsey wrote.

The group filing suit, Gainesville Woman Care, LLC, an abortion provider in the city, said privacy rights of Floridians would be infringed upon.

“This court does not believe that the 24-hour waiting period is a significant intrusion into that right,” Dempsey wrote. “Twenty-six other states have similar restrictions, some of which have been in effect for many years. Moreover, plaintiffs can point to no evidence that these laws have prevented any women – let alone all women – who desire an abortion from obtaining one,”

The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, among other religious groups backing pro-life issues, were glad of the decision.

“The 24-hour reflection period is a reasonable measure that will empower women to make truly informed, deliberate decisions apart from the abortion industry’s pressures,” said Christie Arnold, spokeswoman for the group.

One of the groups who joined the suit, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said the law “imposes a significant hardship on Floridians.”

“This law imposes a significant hardship on Floridians that is medically unnecessary, arbitrary, and dangerous,” said Daniel Tilley, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. “For years, the courts have agreed that imposing an additional barrier that would delay an individual’s ability to receive the abortion care they need was in direct violation of Floridians’ right to privacy. A person’s private medical decisions should be made in consultation with a doctor they trust, not politicians, and no one should ever be made to delay the care they need.”

The legal victory adds to a string of pro-life victories for Florida Republicans. Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed, a 15-week abortion ban which drew the ire of President Joe Biden (D).

DeSantis additionally vetoed a provision in the Florida budget last year which would have funded long-acting reversible contraception for low-income girls and young women.

The State of Florida also joined a chorus of other states calling upon the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn the Roe v. Wade case which legalized abortion.

– – –

Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.



Related posts