Abortion Ruling: Florida Supreme Court Upholds Women’s Right To Know Act

WEST PALM BEACH, FL April 7, 2006 ( - Yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Women’s Right to Know Act, a statute prohibiting abortion without the informed and voluntary consent of the patient. Last year, a state appeals court ruled that the informed consent law violates Florida’s right to privacy contained in the state constitution.

The Florida Supreme Court construed the statute as an informed consent statute and stated, “The doctrine of informed consent is well recognized, has a long history, and is grounded in the common law and based in the concepts of bodily integrity and patient autonomy.” The Court stated, “The termination of pregnancy is unquestionably a medical procedure and we conclude that, as with any other medical procedure, the State may require physicians to obtain informed consent from a patient prior to terminating pregnancy.”

Liberty Counsel filed an Amicus Brief in the case on behalf of the Catholic Medical Association and the Christian Medical Association, which together represent over 20,000 physicians. The Associations are represented by Teresa Collett, professor of law at St. Thomas University School of Law, along with Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel.

The brief argued that women make better choices when they are fully informed of the consequences and, like any other medical procedure, women simply have the right to be fully informed. The brief also argued that “a right exercised in ignorance is not freedom. It’s just tyranny once removed.”

Staver commented, “We applaud today’s opinion upholding the Women’s Right to Know Act. Abortion providers arguing that they should not be required to inform women about the consequences of abortion is akin to the fox guarding the hen house. Abortion doctors have an incentive to spend as little time with their patients as possible in order to increase their profit margin. Although abortion providers claim they act in the best interest of women, their actions are to the contrary. It is astounding that abortion providers would fight the implementation of this statute that was only intended to provide women seeking an abortion with full information about the consequences of the abortion. The best interest of women, and for that matter the best interest of any patient, is to be fully informed of the impending medical procedure. Women have a right to be fully informed.”

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