Florida Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to 24-hour abortion waiting period

Florida Supreme Court
Florida Supreme Court Tampa Bay Times

The Florida Supreme Court agreed Thursday to hear a case challenging a state law that requires women to see a doctor and wait 24 hours before having an abortion.

Five of seven justices agreed to consider overturning a lower court’s decision that the law should be enforced while a pending suit over the constitutionality of the law moves forward.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the waiting period into law last year, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union and Gainesville-based abortion clinic Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center to sue the state. The law, they say, violates strict privacy protections in the Florida Constitution.

The law went into effect for about a day last July before a Tallahassee judge issued an injunction blocking its implementation. That was lifted in February by the 1st District Court of Appeals.

The state Supreme Court at least temporarily halted the waiting period again on April 22.

Oral arguments have not yet been set by the court, but they will not take place for at least two months, according to the justices’ order.

In deciding to hear the case, the justices broke on familiar ideological lines with Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and James Perry voting to accept jurisdiction. Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston dissented.

Contact Michael Auslen at mauslen@tampabay.com. Follow @MichaelAuslen.