Temporary injunction against abortion waiting period reinstated; case remanded to circuit court

By Richard Jones | Apr 12, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida 1st District Court of Appeal on April 4 remanded a case over the required waiting period before an abortion can be performed to the Circuit Court for Leon County. 

The case was sent back to the district court by the Florida Supreme Court.

The state’s high court overruled the district court’s reversal of a lower court injunction against a state law that created a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion could take place. 

In 2015, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law House Bill 633, instituting the waiting period. The law meant that physicians had to take measures to ensure voluntary and informed consent of the paternal partner prior to termination of a pregnancy.

In 2011, Florida started requiring physicians to follow a protocol that would allow a pregnant woman to have an opportunity to view ultrasound images and be given a detailed explanation of the images before an abortion. House Bill 633 amended that to require that the physician verbally inform the woman of statutory requirements while also mandating a full 24-hour waiting period. The Florida Legislature added an exception to the 24-hour delay period for victims of sexual abuse.

One day after the law went into effect, the Bread and Roses Women's Health Center in Gainesville brought a suit seeking a temporary injunction to stop the implementation of the law.

The state started enforcing the law again after the 1st District Court vacated the injunction. The court found the injunction “deficient both factually and legally.”

The Florida Supreme Court reversed that decision, remanding “with instructions that the temporary injunction and accompanying stay.” 

In the opinion, Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, writing for the majority, said the law would impose a burden on a woman and require a second trip to medical facilities. According to Pariente, this would increase the odds that the choice to get an abortion procedure would no longer remain confidential.  

The case is Gainesville Woman Care, LLC, et al., v State of Florida, et al.

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