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Florida Supreme Court temporarily blocks 24-hour abortion waiting period

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In a 5-2 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court on Friday issued a temporary block on enforcing the state’s 24-hour waiting period requirement for abortions.

Florida is one of 27 states that require women seeking abortions to wait at least a day between seeing a doctor about an abortion and having it performed. Studies have shown that such laws are effective in changing the minds of women who do not enter an abortion facility already certain of their decision.

A spokeswoman for Republican Governor Rick Scott, who signed the law, said they are reviewing the ruling, which was not on the law’s merits but was simply a temporary measure until the court decides whether they will hear a case challenging the law’s constitutionality.

The Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is suing to have the law tossed out on behalf of a Gainsville, FL abortion facility. The ACLU’s Nancy Abudu blasted the waiting period as an “unconstitutional” and “potentially dangerous” law causing “needless burdens to limit a woman’s access to reproductive care.”

However, despite upholding abortion, the US Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey already found 24-hour waiting periods to be constitutional in 1992. A waiting period does not qualify as an “undue burden,” the majority held, because it “rationally furthers the State’s legitimate interest in maternal health and in unborn life,” and “may delay, but does not prohibit, abortions.”

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