A new Florida law requiring women seeking abortions to wait 24 hours will not go into effect Wednesday, following a last-minute court decision. Circuit Court Judge Charles Francis blocked the law Tuesday, ruling that state officials had failed to ease concerns that the law would create undue privacy burdens.
The bill, which became law June 10, created a mandatory one-day waiting period for Florida women hoping to terminate their pregnancies. Victims of rape, incest or domestic violence would be exempted, provided they could supply proof in the form of medical records or police reports.
The ruling comes as a victory for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, which filed suit the day after Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law, calling it "a sweeping restriction on Florida women’s ability to access abortion services." Opponents of the law argued that it would create barriers to those seeking reproductive health services, particularly low-income and single-parent women who might not be able to fit two consecutive appointments into their busy schedules.
Florida would have become the 27th state to enact mandatory waiting periods for women seeking abortions. In Utah and Missouri, laws require women to wait 72 hours before going through with abortions. Proponents of such laws argue that they give women space for contemplation and reflection ahead of a major decision.