Florida abortion wait period bill sees backlash, lawsuit

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Florida abortion wait period bill sees backlash, lawsuit

Yesterday, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to wait at least 24 hours between seeing a doctor to obtain the procedure and actually obtaining the procedure, with only a narrow set of exceptions.

Its passage in the state legislature during session occurred along party lines, of course, with Democrats criticizing the measure as burdensome, condescending, arbitrary, draconian, ideologically driven and, also, kind of mean.

The American Civil Liberties Union wants to add unconstitutional to the litany of things that make the law dumb.

Thursday morning the group announced it is suing the governor and state legislature to block the law.

“It’s clear that the sole purpose of this law is to make it more difficult for a woman who has decided to have an abortion to get one, and to punish and discriminate against those who do,” said Renée Paradis, senior staff attorney for the ACLU, in a press release.

It would be like, if the majority of lawmakers hated those tattoos the kids are getting these days (oh, wait, they probably do hate them), and mandated that the tattoo seeker wait at least a day between visiting a parlor and having it done. Actually, such a law would make much more sense than the one the governor signed Wednesday, given how many ill-advised tattoos there are out there (we don't have the exacts stats out there, but we'd venture to guess bad, impulsive tattoos are much more common than abortions sought impulsively).

The bill's critics say that 24-hour period would just add to what likely would have been days or weeks of agonizing over what is probably the toughest decision the woman would ever have to make. 

“Furthermore, it’s flat-out offensive," Paradis continued. "A woman who is seeking an abortion has already carefully considered her decision. She doesn’t need politicians to create additional hurdles because they disagree with her.”

During that period, the law doesn't even have a requirement for providing the patient with educational materials on the procedure and its impacts as well as those of carrying a pregnancy to term. The ACLU and other critics suspect the aim is to discourage women from getting the procedure altogether, given that some low-income women probably have a hard time getting time off work and may have to travel long distances to the facility that offers abortion.

 “As we warned the governor and legislature, this dangerous law that undermines women’s health is also a violation of Florida women’s constitutional rights,” ACLU of Florida legal director Nancy Abudu in a press release. “This law is just the latest example of politicians forcing themselves into decisions that should be made by women and their doctors."

State Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently being held by Marco Rubio, also condemned the bill.

"A woman's right to choose is just that — her right. Politicians like Rick Scott have no business interfering in medical decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor," he said in a written statement. "I'm extremely disappointed that Gov. Scott refuses to let Florida's women decide what's best for themselves, and I am more committed than ever to protect a woman's right to choose."

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