Florida Court Puts Abortion Waiting Period Back In The Spotlight

Aug 2, 2019
Originally published on August 2, 2019 2:29 pm

In a victory for Republican state leaders and abortion opponents, a split appeals court Thursday overturned a circuit judge’s decision that tossed out a 2015 law requiring women to wait 24 hours before having abortions.

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal sends the case back to Leon County circuit court. The 24-hour waiting period case could eventually become a key test for the Florida Supreme Court, which has historically backed abortion rights but is now dominated by conservative justices.

Appeals-court Judge Timothy Osterhaus, in a majority opinion Thursday joined by Judge Harvey Jay, pointed to state arguments that a 24-hour waiting period is needed to ensure “informed consent” by women before abortions are provided.

The state’s “evidence supporting the 24-hour law raises genuine issues of material fact,” Osterhaus wrote.

“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,” Osterhaus wrote.

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