Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Florida’s delay on abortions suspended

- By Brendan Farrington

TALLAHASSE­E — The Florida Supreme Court suspended the state’s 24-hour waiting period for abortions on Friday until it decides whether to hear a lawsuit claiming the law is unconstitu­tional.

The 5-2 decision comes two months after an appeals court allowed the law to go into effect. It was immediatel­y praised by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which is suing on behalf of a Gainesvill­e clinic to block the law.

“Women should not suffer this burden while there is an ongoing challenge to this unconstitu­tional law. Forcing women seeking an abortion to make multiple visits that are medically unnecessar­y especially burdens poor and working women, and is potentiall­y

dangerous,” said Nancy Abudu, legal director of the ACLU of Florida. “This law was about the Legislatur­e creating needless burdens to limit a woman’s access to reproducti­ve care.”

The ACLU says the Florida Constituti­on protects women’s private medical decisions.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed the waiting period into law last year, at the time joining at least 26 other states with similar laws.

Scott’s office didn’t immediatel­y react to the ruling.

“We will review it,” said Scott spokeswoma­n Jackie Schutz.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli wasn’t nearly as reserved, blasting the Supreme Court and saying it oversteppe­d its power.

“I can’t say I am surprised. In my opinion, this has been one of the most activist and overreachi­ng State Supreme Courts in recent memory,” he said in an emailed statement. “I believe our government operates best when all sides respect the balance of power. 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.”

While not a party to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Florida said the law has caused problems for women seeking abortions during the two months it’s been in effect.

“It’s definitely been difficult for many of them. They’ve traveled a great distance just to be told they have to come back and take time off work or classes,” said Laura Goodhue, a spokeswoma­n for the group. “Politician­s are passing laws with the intent of shaming and judging women.”

While the court’s decision doesn’t guarantee it will review the law, it’s a good indication that it will.

Justices Ricky Polston and Charles Canady opposed the decision.

“Politician­s are passing laws with the intent of shaming and judging women.” Laura Goodhue, Planned Parenthood of Florida

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