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24-Hour Waiting Period for Abortion Clears Florida House Panel in Partisan 9-4 Vote

| March 12, 2015

Wait here. (Brandy Shaul)

Wait here. (Brandy Shaul)

A House panel Thursday plunged into the legislative session’s first abortion debate, approving a measure that would require a 24-hour waiting period before women could terminate pregnancies.

The battle lines were familiar: Republicans and abortion opponents on one side, Democrats and abortion-rights supporters on the other.

In the end, the GOP-dominated Health Quality Subcommittee voted 9-4 to approve the measure (HB 633), filed by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora. Under the bill, a woman seeking an abortion would be required to meet with a physician to get information and then wait at least 24 hours before the procedure could be performed.

Sullivan said the bill would empower “women to make an informed decision versus an unexpected, rushed and pressured one.”

“It gives them the opportunity to have that face-to-face with their doctor 24 hours in advance, to be able to think through that just like any other procedure as common practice,” Sullivan said.

But opponents argued that a 24-hour waiting period is not medically necessary and that such a delay could be hardship on women who live in areas without abortion clinics. Rep. Kristin Jacobs, D-Coconut Creek, said state law does not require similar waiting periods for other procedures, including vasectomies.

“A mandatory delay is not something that should be imposed on a woman, because there are lots and lots of procedures, as we know, that happen every day with doctors and there is not a single instance in Florida law or in this country where someone is required to wait, other than having an abortion,” Jacobs said.

Florida is part of a national trend where abortion rights have been under intense assault for the past four years.

Republican lawmakers in recent years have incrementally increased restrictions on abortions, such as approving a law that requires women to have ultrasounds before they can undergo the procedures.

It’s part of a natiuonal trend. The Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health rights advocacy and research organization, reports that in 2014 legislative sessions, “lawmakers introduced 335 provisions aimed at restricting access to abortion. By the end of the year, 15 states had enacted 26 new abortion restrictions. Including these new provisions, states have adopted 231 new abortion restrictions since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country.”

Sullivan’s bill would need to clear two more committees before it can go to the full House, while an identical bill (SB 724), filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, has not received its first committee hearing in the Senate. Also this session, lawmakers could consider bills (SB 920 and HB 147) that would require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals if they perform abortions in Florida.

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan

During Thursday’s debate, groups such as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union lined up with Democrats in opposing the waiting-period bill, while groups such the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Florida Family Policy Council joined Republicans in supporting it.

“The delay you are considering is not medically necessary and could in fact interfere with a woman’s health, ” said Michelle Richardson, a lobbyist for the ACLU of Florida. “Only a woman and her doctor should make decisions about what is best for her in her unique situation. Requiring two trips to a facility, regardless of a woman’s circumstances, and an override of a medical professional’s judgment places politicians between a woman and her health-care provider.”

But Rep. Julio Gonzalez, a Venice Republican who is an orthopedic surgeon, said the waiting period is medically necessary and pointed to data that he said indicates some women suffer post-traumatic stress disorder after undergoing abortions.

“I do not see this as anything else other than an attempt to protect women from a rushed decision that they may regret for the rest of their lives,” Gonzalez said.

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida and FlaglerLive

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20 Responses for “24-Hour Waiting Period for Abortion Clears Florida House Panel in Partisan 9-4 Vote”

  1. Rick Gardner says:

    Wow those Rs just hate it when government intrudes except when its in a woman’s vagina.

  2. Nancy N. says:

    “I do not see this as anything else other than an attempt to protect women from a rushed decision that they may regret for the rest of their lives”.

    Well thank goodness they are they to protect us little women from making decisions because heaven knows we can’t actually think for ourselves.

    That’s just a big load of misogynist crap wrapped up in a pretty package of protectiveness. While they are at it would they like to mandate that we not be able to drive or leave the house except under the escort of a male relative?

    • Nancy N. says:

      Oh, and speaking of making decisions they regret…how many vasectomies are reversed every year? And yet no one is asking for a waiting period for those!

  3. Flatsflyer says:

    Are Sullivan and Gonzalez having sex on the taxpayers dime? That’s the only rationale I can think of that would explain how the Tea Bagging Religious Right Idiots come to their conclusion about women’s health.

  4. Obama 2015 says:

    Yet another reason why you shouldn’t vote Republican.

    How many jobs does this create?

    How does this help the state attract people to buy up all the homes for sale all over the state ?

    Why would a company bring their workforce here knowing their female and gay employees are treated as unable to make their own decision so the big strong white man had to do it for them.

    If this does become law I believe this 24hr waiting period should be extended to weapons purchases as well.

    Going forward in Florida, you will need to wait 24hrs to purchase ANY firearm OR ammo regardless if it is peer to peer, at a dealer (like wal mart) or at a gun show.

    The seller will then need to do paperwork and be prepared to have it notarized and have it ready for you to sign before you purchase the firearm the next day.

    If you don’t complete the sale in 24hrs and prove that you indeed waited 24hrs the firearm becomes the property of the state and you need to go to court to complete the sale and pay a fine.

    A 24hr waiting period isn’t infringement . “The right of the people, to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” . This law is just protecting the children and making sure you understand what you are doing and to think through any actions you may do once you obtain the weapons.

    If you will not stay out of my bedroom then I will not stay out of your gun safe.

  5. Sherry Epley says:

    Right On Obama 2015! I especially love the comparison to the LACK of waiting periods to buy a gun. . . possibly in the heat of anger, , , possibly to do bodily harm.

    I echo the sentiment. . . as all women and open minded people should. . . “If you will NOT stay out of my bedroom, then I will NOT stay out of your gun cabinet!”

  6. JimBob says:

    There you republicans go again–empowering women. Isn’t that contrary to your core principles?

  7. Lin says:

    Stop the ever-expanding creeping expanding government
    24-hr wait – mind your own business gov’t
    No sonograms either b4
    But let’s not be hypocrites
    No demanding that religious organizations provide your birth control method of choice
    There is no war on women, it is a war on all of us.

  8. Sherry Epley says:

    Requiring CHOICE of all “birth control” methods be covered by “insurance” companies (NOT EMPLOYERS) is consistent policy across the board. . . nothing contrary there.

  9. Lin says:

    Insurance companies do not provide every medical device and procedure that you want. For example, we don’t get to choose top of the line lenses in cstaract surgery

    Gov’t should not force any religious organizations to provide specific drugs that violate beliefs if they provide other many methods that have the Same effect

    As I said, Gov’t should not force waiting periods or sonograms either
    So many accommodations are made for other religious beliefs providing religious books and foods even in Guantanamo for goodness sake, but no accommodations for Christian beliefs here in this country

    We are supposed to have freedom of religion not freedom from religion

    • Karl Hungus says:

      Religious institutions shouldn’t get tax exempt status just because they are religious institutions.

    • Nancy N. says:

      “no accommodations for Christian beliefs here in this country” – you’re freaking kidding me, right? This entire country is nothing but one big “accommodation” of Christian religious beliefs! From Christian religious prayers opening government meetings, to “in god we trust” on our money and “under god” in our pledge, to religious tests to run for public office, and the religious right dictating the direction of politics…the Christian religion and its practice and influence is inescapable in this country. Believe me, as an atheist, I’ve tried. It can’t be done.

  10. Sherry Epley says:

    When religious organizations STOP their insurance companies from covering drugs like Viagra (etc. etc.), then I will stop believing that not only should politicians and gun zealots stay out of my bedroom, so should religious zealots.

    Legislation should be reasonable and just for ALL citizens. . . across gender lines, race lines, sexual preference lines, financial lines and religious lines.

  11. Sherry Epley says:

    OOPS! I should have said I will never stop believing that Politicians, Gun Zealots and Religious Zealots should stay out of my bedroom. Just trying to make a point about the hypocrisy of allowing coverage for Viagra, etc.

    And yes, I believe we also have the right to be free FROM religion and the rules that go with it! I am a very spiritual and soulful person, but I do not subscribe to many of the human prescribed “rules” preached from the pulpit. and written by religious men to control others. History is fill with atrocities committed in the name of “my God is better than your God”. My heart and soul does not condone those acts against humanity or those organized religious that perpetrate such acts . . . including Christianity.

  12. Lin says:

    Does the 1st Amendment which gives freedom to practice religion apply to Christians?
    Of course it does
    I think Of spiritual people as kind non-judgmental souls without allegiance to any God or organized religion
    To constantly bring up your own very negative characterizations of Christians, Sherry, doesn’t wipe out the 1st Amendment. There is no freedom from religion as much as some want it to be so.

    My heart goes out to those innocents of all religions or no religion at all who are being killed, raped, kidnapped, enslaved, beheaded. That’s my version of being spiritual — and I don’t make exceptions.

    No one is guaranteed the right to take anyone’s freedoms away.
    We need to limit the powers of our Gov’t to be in all our bedrooms and all other rooms.

    • Nancy N. says:

      “There is no freedom from religion as much as some want it to be so.” WRONG. The Constitution of this country – and numerous court rulings upholding and interpreting it – holds that no person or institution has the right to force religion on another person. Government and public schools are supposed to be religiously neutral. One person’s right to practice religion ends where it affects another person. I, as an atheist, have a right to not have religious practice forced on me. I have a right to freedom from religion under the Constitution.

      Contrary to what Fox News and various Christian dominionist extremist leaders might be spouting, the Constitution’s freedom of religion clause only gives a person the right to privately practice their religion of choice and to gather with others to do so if they wish in a church. It does NOT give the right to have the laws of the country reflect a person’s religious beliefs as part of their freedom to practice. In fact, under the establishment clause, the Constitution strictly FORBIDS the laws of this country from enacting into law religious beliefs. And it does not give a person, under the guise of their “freedom”, the right to restrict the rights of other people.

      Think of it like owning a condo. You are free to paint and decorate all you want within the walls of your own unit. But you can’t just wake up one morning and decide to paint the building’s lobby. That belongs to everyone and it’s not yours to do with as you want. The laws of this country (both state, federal and local) are like the lobby. They belong to everyone and you don’t have the right to decorate them with your religion.

  13. Sherry Epley says:

    Dear Lin,

    While I often agree with you and enjoy your commentary, when it comes to judgements being made and laws written and enacted based solely on rules written by humans who worship any particular organized religion, here I must respectfully depart from sharing your perspective. I am a very spiritual person who deeply believes in a universal spirit that lovingly binds us all together as brothers and sisters of the human race. . . excluding NO human being.

    What I object to is ANY religion justifying actions against ANY human being which takes away their physical being or their inalienable rights to live an “equal”, peaceful life of their own making.

    Certainly I would be the last person to complain about any person “practicing” any religion of their choice, as guaranteed by the first amendment. But, Lin, the first amendment does not require that all rights and laws be defined solely according to religious rules. Goodness and justice, and just plain “doing the right thing” isn’t only the purview of religious teachings.

    Yes, I do point out the imperfections of strident Christian dogma when it is held up to be “the one true way” to view and live in the world, and when Christian perspective and rules impinge on the freedoms and rights I perceive as reasonable, and above and beyond religious teachings.

  14. Lancer says:

    I disagree with this ruling for the sake of personal liberty. If a woman doesn’t want to give birth, the state shouldn’t make her. The decision shouldn’t be made lightly and I doubt, very seriously, that the person hasn’t given it much thought BEFORE meeting with a doctor.

    While common sense would dictate thought before action…it’s not the state’s function too mandate it. I’m sure there are quite a few tattoos that would be changed or removed if there was a mandated 24 hour wait for those. However, decisions have consequences and the people who make their own decisions should be allowed to reap the rewards or repercussions.

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