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Supreme Court stops 24-hour waiting period for abortions


Women will no longer be required to wait 24 hours before having an abortion -- at least for now.

The Florida Supreme Court on Friday tapped the brakes on the controversial state law, which requires women to visit the doctor, in person, a full day before an abortion. It's the latest in a protracted legal fight that began last summer after the measure was passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Gainesville-based abortion clinic Bread and Roses Women's Health Center and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida sued the state, claiming the law violates broad privacy protections under the Florida Constitution. A Tallahassee circuit court still hasn't ruled on that question. The fight has so far surrounded an injunction stopping the law from going into effect.

For about a day in July, the law was in effect before a judge issued the injunciton. Then, on Feb. 26, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeals ruled in the state's favor, allowing the waiting period to become state law while the lawsuit moves forward.

The Supreme Court's 5-2 ruling, however, puts the law's implementation on hold while the state's highest justices decide whether to accept the case.