The weaknesses in the case against Florida’s 24-hour waiting period

By Dave Andrusko

Circuit Judge Charles Dodson

Circuit Judge Charles Dodson

Last week NRL News Today provided you with a blow by blow account of the legal back and forth over Florida’s new 24-hour waiting period. [1]

As always, pro-abortionists, in this case led by the ACLU, challenged the law–June 10, one day after Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 633 into law.

What followed, in a word, was that the initial ruling temporarily enjoining the law was challenged by the state Attorney General, which had the force of triggering an automatic stay of Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Francis’ decision, only to have a second judge — –Circuit Judge Charles Dodson–agree with Judge Francis. For now HB633 is on hold until the merits of the law are considered.

Let’s dig a little deeper, especially into the plaintiff’s argument swallowed whole by Judges Francis and Dobson–that the law is in conflict with the state Constitution’s right to privacy.

First a distinction. According to NRLC’s Department of State Legislation, 31 states have waiting periods. They include 18 hours (in one state), 24 hours (in 23 states), 48 hours (in three states) while four states have a 72 hour waiting period, with one more scheduled to go into effect this fall.

So Florida’s 24-hour period of reflection is typical, with a slight wrinkle. As Elizabeth Nash of the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute told WGCU’s Nick Evans, Florida’s law requires that the abortionist provide the woman with information at least 24 hours before the abortion to ensure an informed consent. In other words there are two trips, which, again according to Guttmacher, is the case in the laws of 13 states.

It’s this second trip that pro-abortionists, such as ACLU lawyer Rene Paradis, argue violates the right to privacy in Florida’s state constitution.

In arguing before Judge Francis, Blaine Winship, special counsel to the attorney general, offered a number of reasons why HB 633 does not violate the right of privacy. To begin with, he noted that there was nothing in the law that removed or deprived a woman of her right to have an abortion.

“The state wields the police power to protect the health and safety of the people,” he told Judge Francis. “The question of whether there is a 24-hour wait for her to contemplate the full impact and ramifications of her decision is obviously what we’ve been talking about today.”

He added, according to Evans, “It’s what the Legislature aimed to try to protect, and in that regard, women will still have their privacy, they’ll still have the opportunity to have an abortion if they want to, the only question is whether there will be a twenty four hour waiting period or not.”

Moreover, “Winship pointed to a 2006 Florida Supreme ruling that upheld the informed-consent provision in a 1997 law, the ‘Women’s Right to Know’ Act, which required doctors to explain the medical risks of abortion and to obtain consent from women seeking them.”

[1] For example www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2015/07/second-judge-blocks-floridas-24-hour-waiting-period/#.VZrOblI0qiA; www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2015/07/furious-back-and-forth-on-floridas-24-hour-waiting-period/#.VZrOi1I0qiA; and www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/news/2015/07/furious-back-and-forth-on-floridas-24-hour-waiting-period/#.VZrOi1I0qiA

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