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.