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Senate panel advances abortion bill

After 20 minutes of rushed discussion Tuesday, a Senate panel approved a plan that would require women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion.

The party-line vote took place at the end of a Senate Health Policy Committee meeting, which also included a discussion on medical marijuana. Only one senator had time to speak about the abortion bill, along with just two of the 32 citizens who had signed up to testify.

The fast pace infuriated women’s rights activists, who blasted the panel after the meeting during an impromptu press conference.

"It was purposely put before lunch to stifle free debate," said Terri Wonder, a member of the Democratic Women’s Club of Manatee County.

The bill (SB 724) would require women to discuss the risks of having an abortion with their physician at least 24 hours before the procedure. The conversation would have to take place in person.

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said she sponsored the proposal because an abortion is a "major medical procedure."

"You don't go into a knee surgeon one day and say tomorrow I want to get a full knee [replacement]," Flores said. "I don’t think this should be treated any differently."

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