Florida Judge Says Abortion Waiting Period Is Unconstitutional

By on January 11, 2018

Anti-choice advocates in Florida were dealt a severe blow earlier this week when a Leon County circuit judge who ruled that a law requiring a mandatory waiting period before an abortion is illegal.

The court had already instituted a temporary injunction against the law, but Judge Terry Lewis made the decision permanent with his ruling on Tuesday.

Lewis rejected the state’s argument that most other medical procedures are delayed, although such delays are not legally required, and that the waiting period would “enhance” informed consent.

“None of this, however, justifies singling out abortions for the mandatory delay, when no other medical procedure, including those with greater medical risks, are subject to a mandatory delay,” Lewis wrote.

Lewis ruled that the law violated a woman’s constitutional right to privacy. The ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project praised the ruling, which they see as another win for the right of women to choose how they handle their own healthcare decisions.

“The court’s decision affirms what Floridians already know — politicians have no business interfering with a woman’s personal health care decisions, including the decision to have an abortion,” said Julia Kaye, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, who argued the case. “Let’s hope Florida politicians heed this decision and stop passing laws that do nothing but burden, shame, and punish people seeking abortion care.”

The law was a thinly veiled attempt to make it harder for women to have abortions in Florida. It was passed by the Republican-led state legislature but now will be thrown to the wayside as courts across the country have almost unilaterally re-affirmed the right of a women to have safe and unhindered access to abortions. Those who mete out justice have repeatedly shown this to be a civil rights issue. Though it’s another loss for the GOP, it’s highly likely they will continue to try new and inventive ways to get rid of abortion.