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Justices Ponder Decision On Abortion Waiting Period

Florida Supreme Court
The Florida Channel
Florida Supreme Court

In a legal debate that focuses heavily on privacy rights, the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday about whether it should block a 2015 law that calls for women to wait 24 hours before having abortions.
The American Civil Liberties Union, representing a Gainesville abortion clinic, is asking justices to overturn an appeals-court ruling that would allow the law to move forward.

The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott approved the waiting period last year after heavy debate and quickly faced a legal challenge filed by the ACLU on behalf of Bread and Roses Women's Health Center in Gainesville and Medical Students for Choice.

A Leon County circuit judge issued a temporary injunction blocking the law from taking effect, but the 1st District Court of Appeal overturned that decision in February. The appeals court pointed to a lack of evidence to support the temporary injunction, saying in part that the circuit judge "failed to make sufficient factually-supported findings about the existence of a significant restriction on a woman's right to seek an abortion."

The plaintiffs took the case to the Supreme Court, which in April issued a stay that has effectively prevented the law from being carried out while justices consider whether to approve the temporary injunction. While it heard arguments Tuesday, the Supreme Court typically takes months to issue opinions.