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Florida’s abortion waiting period goes into effect

Florida Gov. Rick Scott [AP]

A new Florida law establishing a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion came into effect last week.

Gov Rick Scott signed the measure, known as HB 633, into law in June.

The bill had major support in the state Legislature, passing 77-41 in the House and 26-13 in the Senate.

Rep Jennifer Sullivan, House sponsor of the Bill said its purpose is not to change access or to shut down clinics.

She said: “It’s just common courtesy to have a face-to-face conversation with your doctor about such an important decision – especially for such an irreversible procedure as an abortion.

“The purpose of this bill is to empower women to make an informed decision, versus a pressured, rushed, unexpected one.”

Almost immediately the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Florida and Richard Johnson of Tallahassee filed a lawsuit challenging it on behalf of the Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center.

During debate in the Senate, Sen Anitere Flores, one of the Bill’s sponsors, called the waiting period appropriate.

“One day to reflect upon the risks of abortion, one day to view an image of the unborn child’s ultrasound image, and one day to consult with friends, family and faith are minimal considering the effects that will remain for a lifetime beyond that irreversible decision,” she said.