Florida appeals court overturns ruling against state's 24-hour abortion waiting period
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Florida appeals court overturns ruling against state’s 24-hour abortion waiting period

abortion waiting period, heartbeat, ultrasound, pregnancy

In a 2-1 vote, a Florida district court of appeals has reversed a lower court decision, which held that the state’s 24-hour waiting period before abortions, enacted in 2015, was unconstitutional. The case will now return to a lower court for a full trial, according to Liberty Counsel, pro-life legal group. FlagerLive.com reports:

Appeals-court Judge Timothy Osterhaus, in a majority opinion Thursday joined by Judge Harvey Jay, pointed to state arguments that a 24-hour waiting period is needed to ensure “informed consent” by women before abortions are provided.

The state’s “evidence supporting the 24-hour law raises genuine issues of material fact,” Osterhaus wrote.

“Rather than singling out and burdening abortion procedures with arbitrary requirements, the state’s evidence indicates that the 24-hour law brings abortion procedures in Florida into compliance with medical informed consent standards and tangibly improves health outcomes for women,” Osterhaus wrote.

Judge Osterhaus also stated he believes that the previous judge who claimed the waiting period was unconstitutional used a “wrong legal test” in doing so:

“Women claiming particular harms from the 24-hour law based on their specific circumstances may challenge the law’s application to them. But those would be as-applied constitutional challenges. No such challenge has been made here,” Osterhaus wrote. “For this facial challenge, the correct legal test is not whether the 24-hour law violates the constitutional rights of some women in some circumstances, but whether it violates the rights of all women in all circumstances.”

READ: 16 infants in Florida born alive after surviving abortion attempts

However, the single dissenting judge on the appeals court, Judge James Wolf, wrote that “there is simply no evidence supporting the concept that information regarding abortion is more complex and needs more time to be understood versus other complex medical procedures,” and claimed the waiting period was “based on nothing more than hostility toward the constitutionally protected abortion procedure.” He also claimed there is “no other medical procedure that has a mandatory delay period after a patient has received the informed consent information.”

But Judge Wolf betrays his own pro-abortion bias; he fails to acknowledge that abortion — far from being a medical procedure like any other — has the death of a developing human being as its direct and intended purpose. A woman deserves information not just about any possible surgical risks to her own body, but also about the fact that abortion ends a distinct human life within her body. Women deserve to be able to see their children on real-time ultrasounds, and to hear about the stages of embryonic or fetal development in detail. Abortion is literally a life or death decision.

Judge Wolf seems to sneer at the idea of “hostility” toward abortion, but frankly, abortion should be met with hostility, because it is a grave injustice to execute an innocent human being.

Liberty Counsel lauded the ruling, stating the opposite of what Judge Wolf claimed in his dissent. The group said it “filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and the American College of Pediatricians… showing that the 24-hour waiting period established in Florida law is in keeping with standard practice in other medical procedures. The district court of appeals cited the amicus brief in its decision to reverse summary judgement.” (emphasis added)

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, the former “special affiliate” and research arm of Planned Parenthood, Florida accounts for just over 8% of the total abortions in the United States.

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