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Editorial Urges Fla. Governor To Veto Mandatory Delay Bill That 'Chips Away at [Women's] Constitutional Rights'

Editorial Urges Fla. Governor To Veto Mandatory Delay Bill That 'Chips Away at [Women's] Constitutional Rights'

May 6, 2015 — A Florida mandatory delay bill (HB 633) would "interfer[e] with an intensely personal decision and chi[p] away at [women's] constitutional rights," and Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is expected to sign the bill, "would veto it if he followed his broader concerns about overregulation and government intrusion into private lives," a Tampa Bay Times editorial states.

The editorial explains that under the bill, a woman and physician would have to meet in person at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, which means women would have "to make at least two trips" to the provider. Moreover, the bill would require women to provide documentation to be eligible for exemptions in instances of "rape, incest, domestic violence or human trafficking," effectively "revictimiz[ing] women by demanding that they prove they have been violated and justify a choice that should require no explanation."

The editorial notes that 25 other states have mandatory delays of at least 24 hours, but "only 11 of those states" impose delays that, like the Florida bill, require women to make two trips to a provider. Coming amid escalated "attempts to curtail abortions" nationwide, the Florida bill "is little more than a timeout for abortion rights opponents to keep pressing their case, and it would force women to twice pass through protesters at abortion clinics," the editorial adds. Further, according to the editorial, the measure "assumes that women have not already given serious thought to their most personal of decisions" and "would make it more difficult for women who may have transportation or job issues."

"Scott should not allow Florida to roll back the clock on women's rights," the editorial states, adding, "Women, not lawmakers, should remain the ultimate arbiters of what happens to their bodies" (Tampa Bay Times, 5/4).