Appeals Court Rules Florida Abortion Information Law Unconstitutional

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 14, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Appeals Court Rules Florida Abortion Information Law Unconstitutional Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 14, 2004

West Palm Beach, FL ( — A federal appeals court has ruled that a Florida law requiring abortion practitioners to give women information about abortion risks and alternatives is unconstitutional, even though similar laws have been upheld in other states.

A three judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal claimed the law "imposes significant obstacles and burdens upon the pregnant woman which improperly intrude upon the exercise of her choice between abortion and childbirth.”

Judge W. Matthew Stevenson wrote the opinion for the three judges, all of whom agreed the law should be overturned.

Pro-life advocates said the ruling is odd because the law is designed to do something abortion businesses rarely do — help women considering an abortion make an informed choice by telling them of the dangers associated with abortion and showing them better alternatives.

Attorney Barry SIlver, who filed suit on behalf of abortion advocates in Florida, claims the law would require the abortion facilities to distribute what he called biased information.

"It’s totally, completely skewed to try to convince someone to have a child," Silver told the Associated Press.

However, Lynda Bell, spokeswoman for Florida Right to Life, told the Miami Herald, "No matter what side of the issue you’re on, women have a right to know all of the ramifications of abortion."

"It’s purely and simply information. Abortion is the one decision you can never take back," Bell added.

Information women would be entitled to under the Women’s Right to Know Act includes information about the development of their unborn child and information about government benefits during and after pregnancy.

Jackie DiPietre, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, told the Associated Press that Florida officials have not decided whether to appeal the decision.

Similar legislation in other states has been upheld as constitutional and has helped reduce abortions by as much as one-third.

Florida voters will decided in November whether to approve a ballot measure authorizing the state legislature to pass a parental notification law. The state’s high court has overturned such a law twice.

Related web sites:
Florida Right to Life –