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Florida appeals court rules in favor of 24-hour waiting period for abortion

Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

GAINESVILLE, Florida, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Florida appeals court reversed a ruling that declared a 24-hour waiting period for abortion unconstitutional, handing pro-life advocates a partial victory. 

The First District Court of Appeal determined on August 1 that a lower court’s blocking of the Sunshine state’s abortion waiting period in State of Florida vs. Gainesville Woman Care should be reversed and sent back to the lower court.

According to the Miami Herald, the case could become a key test for the Florida Supreme Court. While the court has historically been dominated by pro-abortion jurists, there is now a “conservative” majoirty, which may rule more favorably on pro-life cases. 

The appeals court “breathed new life into this important law,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, noting the ruling cited the group’s brief.

“The 24-hour waiting period is critical because abortion is a life and death decision,” Staver continued. “Abortion advocates oppose a waiting period because they fear the mother will choose life. How sad that a mother can kill her pre-born child without waiting even 24 hours, and yet, when someone other than the mother kills the same child, it is a criminal offense.”

Writing for the majority in the 2-1 decision, Judge Timothy Osterhaus ruled: “Rather than singling out and burdening abortion procedures with arbitrary requirements, the state’s evidence indicates that the 24-hour [law] brings abortion procedures in Florida into compliance with medical informed consent standards and tangibly improves health outcomes for women.” Judge Harvey Jay voted with Osterhaus. Both were appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican. Scott is now the junior U.S. Senator for Florida.

Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis had ruled in 2018 that the 24-hour waiting period was unconstitutional, despite the fact that 27 other states have similar waiting period requirements. 

Denise Harle of Alliance Defending Freedom indicated that the appeals court focused on the issue of standards of care for women seeking medical treatment. In a statement, she declared, “Abortion is a life-altering decision, and no woman should be rushed or pressured into it. Abortion advocates, with the help of the ACLU, sought to strike down this commonsense protection for women, even though the U.S. Supreme Court already upheld a similar law. The appeals court noted evidence from medical experts that the standard of care for significant, non-emergency medical procedures is that they are not and should not be done on a drop-in basis.”

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