Roadblocks

60% of U.S. women now live in states with abortion waiting-period laws

A woman clenches her hands during an abortion procedure in Alabama, where the wait period is 48 hours. (Melissa Golden/The New York Times)

Now that a Florida court has allowed a blocked state law requiring women to wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion, six out of 10 American women live in states with legislated abortion waiting periods. There are now 28 states that impose a waiting period between 18 and 72 hours on women seeking an abortion, affecting 58 percent of women of reproductive age (18-44), according to an analysis by The Daily Beast. Florida’s waiting period bill,  HB 633, was originally signed into law by Republican Governor Rick Scott last July but then blocked by a judge after the UCLA and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) challenged it in court.

The law will force women two make two trips to an abortion provider on two separate days, requiring a doctor to be “physically present in the same room” as the patient while delivering state-mandated counseling. The waiting period can be nullified in case of rape, incest, domestic violence or a  medical emergency — but only when a woman can provide “written evidence” of such a situation. “This ruling will harm women in Florida,” said Julia Kaye of the ACLU in a press statement. “A woman who has decided to have an abortion should be able to get one without the state putting up unnecessary roadblocks to prevent her from getting the care she needs.” The CRR promised to continue to fight the law until “the courts permanently strike it down, ensuring that Florida women are able to get the health care they need.”

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.

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