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Fla. Gov. Signs 24-Hour Mandatory Delay; Abortion-Rights Supporters File Legal Challenge

Fla. Gov. Signs 24-Hour Mandatory Delay; Abortion-Rights Supporters File Legal Challenge

June 11, 2015 — Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed a bill (HB 633) imposing a 24-hour mandatory delay before abortions that will require women to make at least two visits to an abortion provider before receiving the procedure, Reuters reports (Cotterell, Reuters, 6/10).

The law will go into effect on July 1 (Farrington, AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/10). Further, Florida's law makes the state one of 14 that currently or soon will require women to visit an abortion provider at least twice before the procedure (Reuters, 6/10).

Background

The law will require a woman to meet in person with a physician at least 24 hours prior to having an abortion. Florida already requires women to receive counseling from a physician prior to the procedure.

The law was amended to waive the delay for women who are survivors of rape, incest, human trafficking or domestic violence. However, the exemptions only will be provided if women can produce certain documentation, such as medical records, police reports or restraining orders (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/9).

Abortion-Rights Supporters File Legal Challenge

On Thursday, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Florida filed a suit in state court to block the law.

Renée Paradis, senior staff attorney for the ACLU, said, "It's clear that the sole purpose of this law is to make it more difficult for a woman who has decided to have an abortion to get one, and to punish and discriminate against those who do." She added, "A woman who is seeking an abortion has already carefully considered her decision. She doesn't need politicians to create additional hurdles because they disagree with her" (Center for Reproductive Rights press release, 6/11).

Comments

Supporters of the measure said it would help women make a decision about whether to have an abortion.

Meanwhile, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the legislation would "shame women." She added, "We all want women to have the information and support they need to make a carefully considered decision about a pregnancy. But this misguided legislation blocks access to safe medical care for political, and not medical, reasons -- which is why medical experts oppose it" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/10).