After a short delay by the court, Florida has passed a law stipulating a mandatory 24-hour waiting period prior to undergoing an abortion. The bill, named House Bill 633, was signed in this past June, and mandates anybody seeking an abortion to undertake a consultation meeting with a provider at least 24 hours before the procedure is scheduled. The law, some argue, will prevent young people from making decisions in haste and may help to curb the number of abortions caused by parental or partner pressure.
What Does This Mean?
Abortion can be an extremely traumatizing procedure like a traumatic brain injury, and several groups have expressed concern that too often women are coerced into abortion by boyfriends or spouses who do not wish to shoulder the responsibility of having a child. The law, according to Ned Khan, a divorce lawyer, allows for a period of thorough thought before enduring such a stressful operation. More importantly, however, the inclusion of a mandatory consultation in abortion proceedings brings it to the same level as most any other surgical endeavor, in which a medical professional sits with the patient and explains the risks and benefits of a procedure before performing it. The waiting period could allow for safer abortion procedures and more prepared patients in addition to the ‘thinking time’ suggested by certain parties.
What do the People Have to Say About This?
The Florida Right to Life group have expressed support for the law, claiming it to be a wise decision that allows for more thinking time on such a big decision, while not hindering access to abortions as a procedure. However, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights have stated that the law marks a demeaning attack against the right of women in the state of Florida to make their own decisions on health care issues. They argue that such a law is unconstitutional, and have declared their determination to continue fighting the law at every chance they get. The law was passed in a 26-13 vote in the Florida Senate, and by a 77-41 vote in the Florida House. It was signed into law this June past by Governor Rick Scott.
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