Friday, April 20, 2018
Politics

Florida Supreme Court blocks 24-hour abortion waiting period

TALLAHASSEE — Women in Florida will no longer be required to wait 24 hours before having an abortion — at least for now.

The Florida Supreme Court on Friday tapped the brakes on the controversial state law, which requires women to visit a doctor in person a full day before an abortion. It's the latest twist in a protracted legal fight that began last summer after the measure was passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Gainesville abortion clinic Bread and Roses Women's Health Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida sued the state, claiming the law violates broad privacy protections under the Florida Constitution. A Tallahassee circuit court still hasn't ruled on that question. The fight has so far focused on an injunction that had stopped the law from initially going into effect.

For about a day in July, the law was in effect before a judge issued the injunction. Then, on Feb. 26, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in the state's favor, allowing the waiting period to become state law while the lawsuit moved forward.

The Supreme Court's 5-2 ruling on Friday, however, puts the law's implementation back on hold while the state's highest justices decide whether to accept the case.

"We hope the court will ultimately agree that Florida women are capable of making decisions about their health and their families without political interference," said Julia Kaye, staff attorney with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, "and that the Florida Constitution tolerates nothing less."

But the law's supporters criticized the court's move as "overreaching" and part of a pattern of the justices ruling against the state Legislature's decisions.

"It appears that several of our Justices seem to believe it is their job to invalidate any action of the legislature, regardless of the law and constitution," House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said in a statement. "I do hope that our next appointees will have a better understanding and appreciation for the true role of our Courts."

Whitney Ray, a spokesman for Attorney General Pam Bondi, said they are "waiting to see if the Florida Supreme Court accepts jurisdiction so we can continue to defend the law."

Supporters of the waiting period say it ensures women have time to consider the decision and protects them from being pressured by their partner or a doctor. And, said bill sponsor Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, it doesn't violate the Constitution.

"It's something that, when I wrote the language, I gave a lot of care to," Sullivan told the Times/Herald in February.

However, opponents say the extra doctor's visit is an unnecessary burden, especially for poor women who may have limited access to transportation or find it difficult to take multiple days off work to have two appointments at a far-away clinic.

"The people of Florida care deeply about preventing unwarranted governmental interference with their private decisions, and that is exactly what this law does," Kaye said, arguing against the legislation in the 1st District Court in February.

Contact Michael Auslen at [email protected] Follow @MichaelAuslen.

Comments
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18
Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victorie...
Published: 04/16/18
Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won’t seek additional medical treatment, a Bush family spokesman said Sunday. "Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors...
Published: 04/15/18
Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump attacked James Comey in a fusillade of tweets Sunday morning, calling for the former FBI director to be imprisoned as Trump served up a number of his favorite theories and alleged misdeeds without evidence.Trump’s ...
Published: 04/15/18
President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at 40 percent in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, slightly more than his 36 percent approval rating when last measured in January. It’s also the highest he’s enjoyed in Post-ABC polling since his fi...
Published: 04/15/18