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Appeals Court Rejects Stay In Abortion Case

An appeals court Monday denied an emergency motion in a legal battle over a law requiring women to wait 24 hours before having abortions in Florida.

The ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeals means the 2015 law will continue in effect --- as it has been since Feb. 26, when a three-judge panel of the court overturned a temporary injunction that had been blocking the law since last summer. The panel ruled, in part, that a Leon County circuit judge failed to show the need for the injunction.

Immediately following that ruling, the plaintiffs --- Gainesville Woman Care LLC and Medical Students for Choice ---filed an emergency motion to stay the ruling pending a review by the Florida Supreme Court. They argued that the harm to their patients was likely significant because they would be compelled to deny the women "medically appropriate care that they desire. … Further, if this court's order is not stayed, (the plaintiffs') patients' constitutional rights to privacy will be significantly infringed," the emergency motion said.

But in a single sentence, the appeals court rejected the emergency motion. On Monday evening, the plaintiffs appealed the denial of the stay to the Florida Supreme Court.

"These sweeping restrictions are depriving women in Florida of their fundamental right to be free from unwarranted governmental interference with their private health care decisions," the plaintiffs argued. "Moreover, these restrictions are forcing women in Florida to miss work, lose wages, and pay for additional child care and travel; threatening women's ability to keep their decision to have an abortion confidential; exposing women to health risks by delaying their care, often by substantially longer than 24 hours; and possibly preventing some women from having an abortion altogether."

The Florida Supreme Court has not decided whether to take the case; that request is pending.