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FLORIDA’S ABORTION WAITING PERIOD ON HOLD, AFTER SECOND JUDGE’S RULING

By CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE     7/9/2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) — A new Florida law establishing a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion has not gone into effect, after a July 2 ruling lifted the stay on a June 30 injunction that had put the law on hold.

A state circuit court judge issued a temporary injunction one day before the law was scheduled to go into effect, which was July 1.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office appealed the injunction and the 1st District Court of Appeals stayed the ruling. Then the case was reassigned to Circuit Judge Charles Dodson, because of annual judge rotations. Dodson late July 2 lifted the stay on the injunction triggered by the attorney general’s appeal.

The measure, known as H.B. 633, was signed into law June 10 by Gov. Rick Scott. The bill had major support in the state Legislature, passing 77-41 in the House and 26-13 in the Senate.

Almost immediately the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Florida and Richard Johnson of Tallahassee filed a lawsuit challenging it on behalf of the Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center.

Opponents said it would restrict women’s access to abortion, but Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, House sponsor of the bill, said, “This isn’t changing access; it’s not shutting down clinics. The purpose of this bill is to empower women to make an informed decision, versus a pressured, rushed, unexpected one.”

“It’s just common courtesy to have a face-to-face conversation with your doctor about such an important decision – especially for such an irreversible procedure as an abortion,” she said when the bill was introduced.

She said with passage of H.B. 633 “women will be empowered to make fully informed decisions.”

During debate in the Senate, Sen. Anitere Flores, one of the bill’s sponsors, called the waiting period appropriate.

“One day to reflect upon the risks of abortion, one day to view an image of the unborn child’s ultrasound image, and one day to consult with friends, family and faith are minimal considering the effects that will remain for a lifetime beyond that irreversible decision,” she said.

“Florida will no longer be a destination for those seeking to rush an irreversible decision that ends the life of a child and affects the woman’s life for years to come,” said Ingrid Delgado, associate for social concerns/Respect Life at the Florida Catholic Conference. She made the comments in thanking Scott when he signed H.B. 633.

More than two dozen states having waiting periods, including Florida’s neighboring states of Georgia and Alabama.

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