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Florida Supreme Court overturns law requiring waiting period before abortion

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, February 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, the Florida Supreme Court blocked a law requiring a 24-hour waiting period before abortion. 

Florida's 24-hour waiting period law had been blocked by a judge in 2015. Today's 4-2 ruling in Gainesville Woman Care LLC v. Florida upholds the lower court's prevention of the law from being enforced. The law will be litigated in a lower appeals court, which will likely take years.

Florida Right to Life President Lynda Bell said her organization is "extremely disappointed" by the ruling. 

"The 24 hour waiting period before undergoing an abortion is a very wise and thoughtful law that allows a 24 hour period of reflection before having a very serious life altering procedure," said Bell. "An abortion takes the life of an unborn child and could affect the woman...for the rest of her life. It is certainly not unreasonable to provide time to reflect before making that extreme decision."

Bell noted that given "there is a three day waiting period after receiving ones license to get married, a three day waiting period to purchase a firearm, and a 20 day waiting period to file for divorce, it stands to reason that a 24 hour waiting period to have an abortion was quite reasonable."

"Today we make clear, in Florida, any law that implicates the fundamental right of privacy, regardless of the activity, is subject to strict scrutiny and is presumptively unconstitutional," Justice Barbara Pariente wrote in the majority opinion. "Because the right of privacy is a fundamental right within Florida’s constitution, this Court consistently has required that any law intruding on this right is presumptively unconstitutional and must be justified by a 'compelling state interest' which the law serves or protects through the 'least restrictive means.'"

"This Court has no evidence before it that a twenty-four hour waiting period is a significant restriction on the right to abortion," Justice Charles Canady wrote in the dissent.

The American Civil Liberties Union called Gainesville Woman Care LLC v. Florida a "victory for abortion access."

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Roe v. Wade that abortion falls under the "right to privacy."

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