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January 9, 2018

Ruling permantly halts restriction forcing patients to delay care for 24 hours, make separate appointment.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a victory for abortion access, a Florida court today permanently blocked a law that would prevent a woman who has decided to have an abortion from obtaining the procedure for at least 24 hours after meeting with her doctor and force her to make an additional, medically unnecessary trip to the clinic. In its decision, the trial court held that there is no factual evidence the State could introduce that would justify this violation of Florida women’s right to privacy.

This lawsuit was brought on behalf of a Gainesville abortion clinic and Medical Students for Choice by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Florida, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Tallahassee attorney Richard Johnson. They argued that the mandatory delay law violates the robust privacy protections in Florida’s state constitution.

“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.”

In February, the Supreme Court blocked the forced delay law from taking effect throughout the course of the ongoing litigation; today’s decision blocks the law permanently.

“Today’s ruling is a win for Florida women,” said Nancy Abudu, legal director of the ACLU of Florida. “The forced delay law was an insult to women and imposed medically unnecessary and harmful burdens, particularly on low-income patients. This law’s intention was to stop women from getting abortion care, plain and simple. Florida women can breathe easier knowing this hurdle won’t stand in the way of their decisions.”

“Forcing a woman to delay her health care is cruel and unconstitutional,” said Autumn Katz, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Women know what’s best for their lives and futures and don’t need politicians getting in the way of their health care decisions. The Center for Reproductive Rights will continue to stand with Florida women until they can get the health care they need free from political interference.”

More about this case can be found: