Florida Supreme Court Will Decide if State Can Require 24-Hour Waiting Period Before Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 17, 2016   |   12:15PM   |   Tallahassee, FL

The Florida Supreme Court scheduled a date to hear abortion activists’ challenge to a state law that requires women to wait 24 hours to have an abortion.

The state’s highest court plans to hear arguments for and against the law on Nov. 1 after abortion activists challenged a lower court ruling in February, according to News 4 JAX.

The 2015 law requires women to wait 24 hours between visits to an abortion facility before having an abortion. The waiting period gives women time to consider their options after their initial consultation at the abortion clinic and helps protect them from being rushed into an irreversible decision.

Abortion activists with the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Florida, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Richard Johnson challenged the law on behalf of the Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center, an abortion business in Florida. They argue that the law violates women’s right to privacy.

The pro-abortion activists won a temporary victory when a circuit court judge blocked the law; however, in February, the 1st District Court of Appeals overturned the ruling and ordered that the law take effect, LifeNews reported. Abortion activists then appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court.

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Earlier this month, the Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief supporting the state law on behalf of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Pediatricians.

The organizations said their members have witnessed the devastating effects of abortion on women. They said a 24-hour waiting period is “critically necessary to protect the health and well-being of young women.”

“Anyone who opposes a 24-hour waiting period has no concern for the health and welfare of women,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The reason abortion advocates oppose a waiting period is because they fear the mother will choose life.”

The law makes Florida the 27th state to require that women pause to reflect at least 24 hours before getting an abortion.

When they adopted the legislation, members of the Florida legislature pointed out how similar laws in other states have saved unborn babies and their moms from abortions.

“This is not a procedure — it is a life,” said state Rep. Jimmie Smith. Referring to the bill’s author, freshman Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, Smith added, “Representative Sullivan, the greatest consequence of your bill is a beautiful baby.”

“I am here today as an advocate for those women who are being pressured,” Rep. Sullivan said, according to Margie Menzel of the News Service of Florida.

Elected at age 23, Sullivan said she has witnessed women being pressured by their loved ones — especially a spouse or a boyfriend — to make a hasty decision about having an abortion.

“I care about the women who have sat in my office,” she said. “I care about the women who have cried in committee.”

A 2014 Rasmussen poll found that Americans favor mandatory waiting periods for women before they have abortions.