NRL News

ACLU challenges Florida’s new 24-hour waiting period, sponsors confident HB633 will withstand court scrutiny

by | Jun 12, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

ACLUlogoIt took about nine seconds (what else is new?) for the American Civil Liberties Union Thursday to sue the state of Florida after Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill establishing a 24-hour waiting period. HB 633 goes into effect July 1.

Thirty-one states have waiting periods including 18 hours (in one state), 24 hours (23 states), 48 hours (three states) while four states have a 72 hour waiting period, with one more scheduled to go into effect this fall.

According to court documents, the ACLU requested an emergency injunction, calling the reflection period “a sweeping restriction on Florida women’s ability to access abortion services, unprecedented in this state.” Michael Auslen of The Tampa Bay Times writes, “The lawsuit further argues that the new law represents an undue burden, which puts it in violation of the state Constitution’s privacy rights.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, any limitation, no matter how modest or commonsensical, represents a constitutionally impermissible “undue burden” to pro-abortionists.

State Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, who sponsored the bill, noted that multiple states have language identical to Florida’s which have withstood court challenges.

“I am confident precedent will be respected, and I look forward to seeing this effort to protect life and a women’s health become the law of Florida,” Sullivan told Auslen.

During the debate in the Senate, Sen. Anitere Flores, one of the bill sponsors, told her colleagues, “One day to reflect upon the risks of abortion, one day to view an image of the unborn child’s ultrasound image, and one day to consult with friends, family and faith are minimal considering the effects that will remain for a lifetime beyond that irreversible decision.”

HB 633 passed easily in the Florida Senate—where it passed 26-13—and the Florida House—which approved the measure on a vote of 77-41.

In 2011 Gov. Scott signed a bill requiring an ultrasound prior to an abortion. “You should have the opportunity to see an ultrasound of your child,” Scott said at the time. “It’s your choice. You don’t have to. This creates choice. I think it’s very positive.”

Last Friday, North Carolina joined Utah, Missouri, and South Dakota as states that provide for a 72-hour period of reflection before women finalize a life and death decision. Oklahoma’s identical waiting period goes into effect in November.

Categories: Judicial