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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Judges hear sides in 24-hour abortion waiting period case



Florida’s constitution sets a high bar for abortion restrictions, lawyers for a Gainesville clinic told judges with the 1st District Court of Appeals Tuesday, arguing against a 24-hour waiting period law passed and signed last year.

But lawyers with the state attorney general’s office said that the voters didn’t intend to prevent all restrictions on abortion when they passed a constitutional amendment giving some of the nation’s strongest privacy protections.

“The people of Florida did not intend to prevent the Legislature from passing a reasonable law, one that ensures that pregnant women have a reasonable amount of time to make the decision whether to have an abortion,” said Denise Harle, deputy attorney general.

After Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law last June, Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a lawsuit and asked for an injunction to stop the law from going into effect. On July 2, the day after the waiting period went into effect, Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson issued a temporary injunction.

“What we have is the Florida Supreme Court’s consistent interpretation in the context of restrictions on abortion,” Julia Kaye, a staff attorney with the ACLU, said.

Now, the appeals court judges Bradford Thomas, Susan Kelsey and William Stone will have to decide whether to keep it in effect.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 10:45am]


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