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Anticipating defeat, pro-abortionists ask Florida Judge “to at least temporarily delay putting the decision into effect”

by | Mar 29, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

Last week we reported that Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey would “uphold a 2015 state law that would require women to wait 24 hours before having abortions, opponents of the law said.” Well, this week opponents not only anticipated that Judge Dempsey would uphold the law, passed in 2015, they have now asked her “to at least temporarily delay putting the decision into effect,” Jim Saunders reported.

Opponents told Saunders that during a hearing Dempsey indicated “she would issue a summary judgment upholding the constitutionality of the law.”

“Attorneys for plaintiffs in a challenge to the waiting-period law filed a motion late Friday seeking a stay of the expected ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey while an appeal moves forward,” Saunders reported. “As an alternative, they asked for a ‘grace period’ until April 30 that would allow abortion providers to take steps such as rescheduling appointments.”

Anticipating that they would appeal to the 1st District Court of Appeal, the plaintiffs’ attorneys sought to keep the temporary injunction in place. In their motion, they wrote

“Dissolving the TI (temporary injunction) without giving the appellate court a further chance to weigh in and either affirm the summary judgment and lift the TI, or reverse [Dempsey’s anticipated ruling], will irreparably alter the status quo — causing substantial constitutional and other harm to thousands of Floridians.”

Passed in 2015, opponents, including Gainesville Woman Care, LLC wasted no time in challenging the law. Part of their challenge relied on an old reliable argument: that it violated a privacy right in the Florida Constitution.

That kicked off years of litigation at various levels of the judiciary, previously reported on in NRL News Today. Saunders summarized the steps:

Then-Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Francis issued a temporary injunction against the law, a move that was later backed by the Supreme Court. The injunction has largely blocked the law.

In 2018, then-Circuit Judge Terry Lewis issued a summary judgment that said the law was unconstitutional. But that decision was overturned in 2019 by a panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal, sending the dispute back to circuit court.

While the Supreme Court in 2017 backed the injunction in a 4-2 decision, the court has become far more conservative during the past three years after the retirements of longtime Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince.

Justice Jorge Labarga is the only member of the majority in the 2017 ruling who remains on the court. Meanwhile, current Chief Justice Charles Canady and Justice Ricky Polston dissented in 2017 and continue to serve on the court.

The state’s attorneys “argued in court documents that the law built on previous informed-consent requirements, which involve information that women must receive before having abortions,” Saunders wrote. “They wrote in the Feb. 8 motion for summary judgment that the 24-hour waiting period would ‘allow women to process the information received and fully consider what is a life-changing decision.’”

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