Tallahassee, Fla., Jul 19, 2017 / 04:43 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The attorney general of Florida has been given 60 days to gather evidence and testimonies in defense of a 2015 state law mandating 24-hour waiting periods for abortions. The law's constitutionality is being challenged in the courts, and it has been on hold since its passage. The decision was passed down by Florida Circuit Judge Terry Lewis after a July 19 hearing that had been meant to re-evaluate the law.
In February, the Florida Supreme Court had upheld a lower court’s decision to stay the law after its passage in June 2015. Among the plaintiffs challenging the law are the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and Gainesville Woman Care, an abortion clinic which started the lawsuit. When the matter came before the state Supreme Court, they issued a stay on the law while they considered the law. The temporary injunction was issued in February.
In a brief filed last month, lawyers defending the statute on the state’s behalf said the state “must be afforded a full and fair opportunity to canvas applicable relevant literature, to consult with and retain experts as needed and appropriate, to seek discovery from plaintiffs and their experts as well as from third parties, and to marshal and present relevant facts in the context of relevant law.”
Opponents of the law argue it is an unconstitutional violation of the state’s right to privacy, and singles out abortion from other riskier medical procedures that don’t require a waiting period. “No mandatory abortion delay in this country has ever survived strict scrutiny,” the plaintiff’s lawyers wrote in a June 1 statement asking for a summary judgement on the case.
The Florida bishops' conference issued a statement supporting the law after its 2015 passage. They called it “good legislation” that “gives women one day to reflect upon the risks of abortion, one day to view the image of her unborn child’s ultrasound, and one day to consult with friends, family and faith.” They also noted that 26 other states have such waiting period laws, and that Florida “already requires waiting periods before marriage, divorce, and the purchase of a handgun.”