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State keeps fighting for suspended law requiring 24-hour abortion waiting periods

As the state continued its fight to keep a law requiring women to see a doctor and wait 24 hours before getting an abortion on Tuesday, its latest argument included the comparison that if there are waiting periods for cremations and divorces, abortions should have them too.

As it stands now, women do not have to follow the 2015 state law, which was signed by Gov. Rick Scott, because it was indefinitely suspended by the state Supreme Court.

But a lawsuit brought forth by the American Civil Liberties Union remains pending in Leon County.

The ACLU of Florida wants Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis to strike down the law completely and deem it unconstitutional, arguing the state’s “paternalistic argument” that women are not capable of making a decision for themselves when they seek the procedure is offensive and should not stand.

Blaine Winship, an attorney with the office of the Attorney General, said that requiring women to come for an in-person consultation revolves around the ultrasound. If women see what’s growing in their uterus, he said, it “can make a lot of difference.”  He added that the 24-hour period is to make sure women have time to make an informed decision.

“We are not here to bully them one way or the other,” Winship said. “This was put in place not out of hostility, but out of concern.”

The ACLU’s attorney, Julia Kaye, said the evidence the state presented to defend the controversial law is “legally irrelevant,” and insisted it should be thrown out.

Following the arguments, Lewis asked both attorneys to submit their final proposals so he can take them into consideration before making a final decision.

Written By

Ana covers politics and policy Before joining the News Service of Florida she wrote for the Naples Daily News and was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. She holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.

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