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ACLU and Women’s Health Center Sue Florida Over 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

| June 12, 2015

florida abortion waiting period lawsuit aclu

Florida’s abortion waiting period has an opponent. (Nicola Albertini)

A day after Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill requiring a 24-hour waiting period before Florida women can have abortions, abortion-rights advocates quickly challenged the constitutionality of the law.

A lawsuit, filed Thursday in Leon County circuit court by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights, seeks an emergency injunction to prevent the measure (HB 633) from going into effect on July 1.

The new law adds to an already-existing statute that requires physicians performing abortions to provide information to women to obtain consent. Under the new law, the information must be provided in person to women at least 24 hours before the procedures are performed — requiring women to make two trips to abortion clinics.

“By subjecting all women seeking abortion care to both a mandatory 24-hour delay and an additional-trip requirement — a burden placed on patients seeking no other medical procedure in Florida, much less a medical procedure protected by the state Constitution as a fundamental right — the act can only serve to deter women from seeking abortions, and to punish and discriminate against those who do,” a motion for the injunction said.

But legislative leaders stood firmly behind the measure. Senate President Andy Gardiner, R- Orlando, said the law does not deny access, but rather offers a period of reflection before woman make potentially life-changing decisions.

“There will always be legal challenges,” Gardiner said. “In a lot of things we do up here, there are legal challenges, but we feel very confident that we have a very good bill that really provides a reflection on a very, very, very serious decision.”

House sponsor Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, said in a statement that “26 states have already instituted a 24-hour waiting period. Six of those states have the exact language that is going to become law in just a few days. Five of those six states faced legal challenges to this same language and courts rejected the challenges. Therefore, I am confident precedent will be respected, and I look forward to seeing this effort to protect life and … women’s health become the law of Florida.”

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Gainesville Woman Care LLC, which does business as the Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center, and Medical Students for Choice, contends that for women — especially low-income women who must arrange for child care, time off work and overnight travel — the law can push them past the time it is legal to have abortions.

Because abortion doctors typically work just one or two days at most clinics, the law “will inevitably force many women to delay their abortion procedures by a significantly longer period of time than 24 hours, ” lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote. “While abortion is an extremely safe procedure, the later an abortion takes place in pregnancy, the greater the medical risks for the woman, and the greater the cost as well. … The additional-trip requirement also poses a very real threat to a woman’s confidentiality and privacy by increasing the risk that partners, family members, employers, co-workers, or others will discover that she is having an abortion.”

ACLU of Florida legal director Nancy Abudu said the law — which passed the Republican-led House and Senate by large majorities — violates the right to privacy guaranteed in the state Constitution.

“The Florida Supreme Court has recognized that right to privacy extends to the area of a woman’s right to obtain an abortion,” she said. “So, we believe that Florida law provides even greater protections than federal law, which is why we are in state court.”

–Margie Menzel, News Service of Florida

Abortion Lawsuit, Gainesville Woman Care v. Florida (2015)

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15 Responses for “ACLU and Women’s Health Center Sue Florida Over 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period”

  1. Obama 2015 says:

    Anyone tired of these bills when we have people out of work, teachers paying for paper out of their own pockets and roads with potholes?

  2. Marvelous says:

    Most other medical procedures require two trips to the dr.

    • Obama 2015 says:

      What’s your point?

      Let’s say you have a blockage in your colon and the best place to have it removed is in Jacksonville.

      So you have to drive from Palm coast to have it looked at but you work 2 jobs to keep a roof over your head. So you take a unpaid day off so you don’t die and see a doctor.

      The doctor tells you they can remove the blockage in about 30 minutes but they now have a 24hr waiting period on all simple procedures so you can review your options. This will alllow you to see another doctor or discuss with your loved ones what might be the best option. So by Law you must come back tomorrow.

      You then need to drive home in pain, take ANOTHER day off from work with no pay and drive all the way back to Jacksonville in the morning. So that is about 180 miles at 2.75 a gallon so that is about 40 bucks in gas. (for two trips)

      You then suffer with this pain for another 24hrs, you can’t eat, can barely use the bathroom and can’t sleep because the government said you had to deal with the pain .

      Pretty sure you would have wished you could have resolved the issue once you needed the care.

      • Obama 2015 says:

        And I thought Obama was the one ruining our freedoms.

      • Anonymous says:

        I see a BIG difference in removing a blockage in one colon to removing a growing human in ones womb. what a shame you don’t see any difference in a piece of shit and a growing human. JMO

        • Obama 2015 says:

          It’s not a child until it is BORN. That is what you’re missing. It doesn’t have a SS number, it doesn’t have a certificate to announce the birth and it’s not a baby until it leaves the womb. It can’t have an insurance or medical policy and it’s not counted on your taxes until it is BORN. Until it is BORN and cries is when it enters the world. Everything else is part of a woman’s body.

          The persecution and perception that all abortions are “birth control” needs to be removed from the discussion and Americans should worry more about the children that are BORN than the ones that aren’t.

          Miscarriages and Abortion aren’t evil things and they should be treated like any other medical decision or procedure and not have a 24hr wait period. In my case and at least 4 other people I know and spoken with have had to use this option for the following reasons.

          1 An abortion was use to remove a miscarriage.

          How would you like to deal with that for an extra 24hrs when you already have the room painted and told your son?

          2 A fatal heart defect was detected in prenatal testing and even if pregnancy was brought to term the child would die or still born.

          3 Trisomy 18 was detected in prenatal testing twice.

          4 A Cystic Hygroma was growing at a alarming rate and it was engulfing the pregnancy that the child would be still born or would suffocate by the 20th week.

          Again it’s getting old this is still an issue, if you don’t want an Abortion. Don’t have one. Just like if you don’t want to own a gun or vote republican.

    • a tiny manatee says:

      Only because two trips is two copays.

  3. JonQPublik says:

    Dick Scott, I’m not surprised. I’m sure his mother is soooo proud!

    FL house, senate and governors– let alone Federal government, should never have the power to limit what a woman’s choices are, NOR should they be allowed to pre-determine the limitations of the care a woman seeks when it comes to dangerous or unwanted pregnancies. When a woman has to make a decision about her pregnancy, she has a billion things to consider, and it’s not just her health, or the health of her child, should she choose to keep it: public perception, family expectations, religious edicts (…), and her self-perception, among other things (because, well, I’m not a woman, nor can I guess what else should be of heavy consideration). Which, brings me around to my main point that MEN HAVE NO PLACE DICTATING WHAT A WOMAN CAN DO WITH HER PREGNANCY. If and when it can be made possible that men can carry, give birth and risk their own lives to have a child, then I might change my opinion.

    If these politicians truly respected women and women’s causes, they’d get vasectomies, because there’s no need to burden the future with offspring that run the risk of perpetuating such archaic rhetoric.

    The next time they want to have sex with their wives, the wives should present their husbands with a notice of a 24-hour waiting period. Why run the risk?

  4. PCer says:

    Is there a 24 hour waiting period and consent needed for a man to have a vasectomy?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s amazing that not one of the above replies even gives A passing thought to the child inside the womb! Typical me first attitude from way too many people in this country.


  5. Anonymous says:

    If “Pro-Lifers” only cared as much about the lives and welfare of children once they actually exited the womb, our country would be in a lot better shape…and, as a group, they would be much more believable in their self-appointed roles as Anerica’s “moral saviors.”

  6. Nancy N says:

    By “people” of course Greg what you mean is us darn uppity women who don’t know our place and actually want to – gasp! – make our own decisions as thinking intelligent human beings.

    Until YOU are the one with a uterus, stop telling me what I can and cannot do with mine.

  7. karma says:

    You should not be amazed about what people think is in the womb Anonymous. The same people will tell you a man who puts on dress and changes his name is now a woman. The same people that go the beach daily will tell you sea levels are raising. ABC news reported in 2008 that NYC would under water in June of this year and people keep watching there news.
    There is no war on woman, there is a war on REALITY. I only wish my banker was one of these believers and understand MY perception of how much money I have and not what the bank says I have.

  8. a tiny manatee says:

    Funny how the same people screaming “dem LIBTARDS want to pass LAWS to LIMIT ARE FREEDOMS” are the first ones in line to pass laws limiting people’s freedoms when it’s something they disagree with. Switch that bible they carry with a koran and you’ll have a group first in line to enact sharia law.

  9. Jay says:

    Abortion has no business on a Legislative Agenda.

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