New Florida Law Requires Two Clinic Visits And A Waiting Period To Get An Abortion

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Political Map Of FloridaFlorida Governor Rick Scott just signed a horrible new anti-choice bill into law yesterday, and starting in just a couple weeks women in Florida will be forced to observe a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion.

According to Reuters, the new law will go into effect on July 1, and it will require anyone seeking an abortion to go to two clinic visits with at least 24 hours between them in order to end a pregnancy. The representative who sponsored the legislation says it is designed to “empower” women, because words mean the opposite in Florida, apparently.

“This means women will be empowered to make fully informed decisions,” said state representative Jennifer Sullivan, who sponsored the legislation. “It’s just common courtesy to have a face-to-face conversation with your doctor about such an important decision — especially for such an irreversible procedure as an abortion.”

Rather than assuming that women are full-grown human beings capable of making decisions for themselves and that any woman looking to get an abortion is already damn sure that she wants one, this new law adds further delay with a stressful waiting period and makes women go through more clinic visits that are not medically necessary.

I have no idea what Representative Sullivan means by “common courtesy,” in this case. She talks as though she’s talking about sending thank-you notes or saying please and thank you. I don’t see how this fits any definition of “courtesy,” and even if it did, since when is the government in the business of legislating courtesy? Is it illegal to not say please and thank you in Florida?

According to Reuters, on July 1 Florida will become the 28th state that requires a waiting period before terminating a pregnancy. Some states require waiting periods of up to 72 hours, because God knows women can’t be trusted to make decisions on their own.

The Florida ACLU is angry about this new legislation and says it is considering a legal challenge to it.

“With this dangerous law, Florida is joining other states in the race to the bottom for limiting women’s ability to make their own personal healthcare decisions,” said Michelle Richardson of the ACLU of Florida. “Not only is the 24-hour mandatory delay medically unnecessary, it could in fact interfere with a woman’s health.”

Doesn’t sound very “empowering” or “courteous,” does it?

Photo: Getty