News Law and Policy

Florida Supreme Court Blocks Forced Waiting Period Law

Teddy Wilson

Nancy Abudu, legal director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement that the organization is pleased the court agreed that pregnant people should not be subjected to the law while there is an ongoing legal challenge.

The Florida Supreme Court suspended the state law that forces people to wait 24 hours before terminating a pregnancy until the court decides whether to hear a lawsuit claiming the measure is unconstitutional, reported the Associated Press.

The court’s 5-2 decision Friday was made two months after a state appeals court’s ruling allowed the Republican-backed law to go into effect.

Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed HB 633 into law in June 2015. The law forces a pregnant person seeking abortion care to make an extra trip to the physician in order to listen to state-mandated counseling prior to obtaining the abortion.

There are 28 states that mandate waiting periods for people seeking abortions. Nineteen states require a 24-hour waiting period, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida filed a lawsuit to overturn the law on behalf of a Gainesville clinic. The group claims the waiting period is causing unnecessary hardship for people seeking abortion care and that the Florida Constitution protects private medical decisions.

Nancy Abudu, legal director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement that the organization is pleased that the court agreed that pregnant people should not be subjected to the law while there is an ongoing legal challenge.

“Forcing women seeking an abortion to make multiple visits that are medically unnecessary especially burdens poor and working women, and is potentially dangerous,” Abudu said. “We have argued all along that this law was about the legislature creating needless burdens to limit a woman’s access to reproductive care.”

The forced waiting period is just one of several anti-choice laws restricting abortion access in Florida.

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