A Republican state representative in Florida last week introduced a bill requiring women in the state to meet with their physician at least 24 hours before getting an abortion.
SB 724, introduced by state Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami), would be an addition to the state’s “informed consent” abortion law. That law currently requires physicians to get the written consent of patients seeking abortions after the physician has explained to the person the risks of the procedure and gestational age of the fetus, as estimated by an ultrasound.
The ultrasound images must be offered for viewing by the person seeking the abortion.
The physician is also required to provide printed material prepared by the state government that describes the stages of fetal development, a list of crisis pregnancy centers, and information on the availability of prenatal, childbirth, and neonatal care.
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The bill introduced last week would require that a physician give this information to their patient at least 24 hours before the procedure. The physician would also be prohibited from relaying this information remotely—for example, over the phone—making two trips to the physician a requirement in order to get an abortion.
A similar waiting period bill was introduced three years ago in the Florida house, but failed to pass the state senate. The legislature is Republican-dominated, with the GOP holding a 25-14 majority in the senate.
“When will Florida Republicans get the message that women’s health care rights are not up for discussion in the twenty-first century?” Florida Democratic Party Chairman Allison Tant said in a statement. “This attempt to chip away at a woman’s right to choose by implementing a 24-hour waiting period failed before and it will fail again.”