Florida Supreme Court again puts 24-hour waiting period on hold

By Dave Andrusko

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In the latest (but with many more to come) twist in Florida’s law requiring a 24-hour waiting period, the Florida Supreme Court voted today to put HB 633 on hold. The court’s action is the latest in a long string of back-and-forths that began the day after pro-life Gov. Rick Scott signed the measure into law in June 2015.

The 5-2 ruling means the justices agreed to block enforcement of the waiting period “until they decide whether to take up the challenge to the law brought by Gainesville Woman Care and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida,” according to reporter John Kennedy.

HB 633 requires a woman to meet in person with an abortionist at least 24 hours prior to having an abortion.

The legal maneuvering since Gov. Scott signed the legislation boggles the mind.

As NRL News Today reported, at the end of June 2015, Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis blocked the 24-hour waiting period from going into effect.

HB 633, which was strongly supported by the Florida legislature, was scheduled to take effect the following day.

A slew of back-and-forth rulings ensued. Finally, on February 26, 2016, a three-judge panel for Florida’s First District Court of Appeal ruled that the temporary injunction did not meet a legal test required for a temporary injunction.

The judges– Bradford Thomas, Susan Kelsey and William Stone –wrote, “In the abortion context as in any other, injunctive relief requires competent, substantial evidence to support the necessary findings of fact.” The original order (by 2nd Circuit Court Judge Charles Dodson) was “legally insufficient to justify this injunctive relief.”

Which brings us to today’s latest wrinkle.

“In an absurd move, the Florida Supreme Court halted the implementation of a law designed to protect women before they make a decision that will affect them for the rest of their lives,” said Lynda Bell, president of Florida Right to Life. “I don’t know of any other surgical procedure where you walk in to a medical facility and have surgery on the spot. How ridiculous! Florida’s women deserve better!”

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