Florida Sued Over Abortion Waiting Period

     (CN) – The American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Reproductive Rights sued Florida on Thursday seeking to stop a 24-hour waiting period for abortions from taking effect in July.
     Gov. Rich Scott signed the measure into law Wednesday. The two organizations argue the law imposes an unnecessary burden on women seeking to end their pregnancies and violates their privacy rights under the state constitution.
     The complaint, filed in the Leon County, Fla. circuit court, says the mandatory waiting period will require women to “make an additional, unnecessary visit” to a clinic, and then to “wait twenty-four hours before the state permits them to effectuate their decision.”
     “This unwarranted intrusion into their personal privacy and autonomy, the interference with the physician-patient relationship, the judgment and moral disapproval from the state the Act communicates, and the anxiety associated with delaying an abortion that a woman has decided she wants will harm all Florida women seeking this care,” the complaint says.
     The organizations also contend that “[f]or many women, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to schedule an appointment on two consecutive days due to work and/or school schedules, child-care availability, and the need to secure transportation to and from a provider.”
     The complaint was filed on behalf the Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center, of Gainesville, Fla., and a nonprofit called Medical Students for Choice.
     In laying out their reasons why the new law should be set aside, the clinic said its doctor has a limited schedule, allowing her to provide care only on certain days, and this situation is likely to be true at other clinics in the state as well.
     “The mandatory delay and additional-trip requirement will thus significantly delay some women in obtaining abortion care,” the complaint says.
     The plaintiffs also contend the law imposes tangible costs, in terms of costs and potential lost wages on women seeking an abortion, and also unnecessarily increases the risk of disclosure to partners, family members, employers and co-workers the woman has not told of her plans to have an abortion.
     In addition to their complaint, the plaintiffs have also filed a motion for a temporary injunction to stop the law from going into effect before the lawsuit is adjudicated.
     Gov. Scott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for common on the lawsuit.
     Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, the Eustis, Fla. Republican who sponsored the bill said 26 other states already have waiting periods for abortions on their books, and that in six of these states, the law is identical to the measure adopted in Florida.
     “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 said in a statement.

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