Florida’s 24-hour abortion wait period headed to trial

Last year a circuit court judge ruled the waiting period unconstitutional based on the privacy clause in the state constitution, but now an appellate court has ordered the case return to the lower court for a full trial. (Wolfgang Moroder / CC BY-SA 3.0)
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - The case against Florida’s 24-hour waiting period to receive an abortion is headed back to a lower court after an appeals court decided a lower court erred declaring it unconstitutional.

Despite passing in 2015, Florida’s law mandating a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can get an abortion was only enforced briefly in 2016.

The ACLU argued the law was negatively impacting women and successfully got the State Supreme Court to block the waiting period again in 2017.

“Women suffered. Women missed work and wages they would not have otherwise had to lose. Women experienced sickness that could have been avoided,” said ACLU Attorney Julia Kaye in 2016.

Last year a circuit court judge ruled the waiting period unconstitutional based on the privacy clause in the state constitution, but now an appellate court has ordered the case return to the lower court for a full trial.

Ingrid Delgado with the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops said it will allow the state to strengthen its argument.

“To bring forward some new women who regret their abortions when they didn't have a reflection period,” said Delgado.

Twenty-seven states currently have waiting periods in effect.

Many have been upheld by either their own state supreme courts or the U.S. Supreme Court, however, those states don’t have the same constitutional privacy rights as Florida.

But the state Supreme Court has a new Conservative leaning. The ideological shift is another positive sign for pro-life groups.

"Especially when we know that we can bring forward evidence that wasn't considered in the past. Again, with physicians, for example, testifying to the fact that this is already the accepted standard of care,” said Delgado.

Benjamin Stevenson a staff attorney with the ACLU of Florida said in a statement, “We are disappointed that the court failed to recognize what we all know—a 24-hour delay was designed to and plainly does unnecessarily restrict access to safe and legal reproductive health care. We look forward to proving these facts at trial.”

The ACLU, while disappointed in the decision to send the case back to a lower court, said it’s happy the 2017 Supreme Court injunction will still prevent the law from taking effect for the time being.