Delaware Gives Up on Waiting Period Fight

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 13, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Delaware Gives Up on Waiting Period Fight

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 13, 2003

Dover, DE ( — Delaware’s state attorney general has decided to give up on a fight for a pro-life law that requires women considering abortions to wait 24 hours before making a decision.

U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled the law unconstitutional in June. She said the law should have included an exception to allow for cases when an abortion is needed to protect a woman’s health. Pro-life groups say no such situation exists and "health" exceptions are a loophole that allow all abortions to remain legal.

Last week, Attorney General M. Jane Brady said the costs of the lawsuit as well as her uncertainty as to whether the state would win the case prompted her to not appeal Robinson’s ruling.

The Delaware law requiring a 24-hour waiting period has been on the books for more than 20 years but was never enforced. Brady revived the law last year when the state health department said it could be enforceable under more recent Supreme Court rulings.

Moira Sheridan, president of Delaware Right to Life, told the decision to resurrect the law came as a result of a complaint filed by a woman "who didn’t want to get an abortion and was in a state of distress."

"She was medicated and they performed the abortion," Sheridan says.

"Millions of women would have given anything to have those 24 hours back," Sheridan continued. "They may have made a different decision that not only
saved their babies’ lives, but saved their own well being as well."

Planned Parenthood of Delaware, which filed the original suit challenging the law, hailed Brady’s decision. The abortion business has filed a motion asking the state to pay its $76,000 in legal bills.

Sheridan told that the state has one of the highest abortion rates in the country for teens under seventeen. "Delaware’s abortion laws are among the most liberal and 35% of our abortions are on women from out of state," she explained.