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ACLU asks Supreme Court to consider blocking 24-hour waiting period for abortions


Abortion rights activists are asking the Florida Supreme Court to intervene after an appellate court on Friday decided to allow a controversial 24-hour waiting period law to go into effect.

Late Friday night, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida requested that the state's highest court take up their request for an emergency injunction that stopped the waiting period, signed into law last year by Gov. Rick Scott, from being enforced.

The injunction was granted July 2, 2015, the day after the law went into effect. But Friday's decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeals to overrule the injunction means the law is now in effect. Women must see a doctor in person 24 hours before having an abortion.

"The appellate court's ruling is already causing havoc across the state as women seeking abortions struggle to make an additional, unnecessary trip to the clinic—which often means missing work, losing wages, and finding child care," Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement.

The ACLU is acting as lawyers for Bread and Roses, a Gainesville-based abortion clinic in a broader lawsuit, which alleges that the law violates strict privacy protections in Florida's Constitution. That lawsuit is pending in a Tallahassee circuit court.

Supporters of the law say it protects women's health and ensures that no women are pressured into having an abortion without first having the chance to seriously consider it.

"This is a huge win for women's health and the ability for women to have a face-to-face consultation with the doctor before the procedure," state Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, said in a statement Friday after the injunction was lifted. Sullivan sponsored the 24-hour waiting period legislation.