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Abortion Waiting Period Moves Forward In Senate

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami
Florida House of Representatives
Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami

A bill that would require women to wait 24 hours before having abortions passed a second Senate panel Wednesday, while an identical version (HB633) is ready to go to the House floor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 along party lines to approve the Senate measure (SB 724), filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami.

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami
Credit Florida House of Representatives
Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami

It would add a 24-hour waiting period to the conditions for informed consent before women can terminate pregnancies.

"Some people change their mind," Flores said. "It is not an undue burden."

But Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, said the measure was likely unconstitutional. Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said the measure was another hurdle to prevent women from having abortions.

"These laws hurt women," Joyner said. "And their ultimate goal is to make safe, legal abortions hard or impossible for a woman to have access to."

Public comment drew two women who described having abortions. Brook Hines of Orlando said that having grown up in poverty, she and her husband decided they could not afford a child while she was in college and uninsured.

"We didn't need an extra 24 hours, an extra trip to the doctor that we couldn't afford -- or anyone else inserting themselves into our lives to make that decision," she told lawmakers.

But Sherri Daume of Tallahassee said she regretted having an abortion. "I was given information about the procedure," she told the panel. "I was shaking all over, numb, terrified, certainly not in a position to consider this new information just given me."

The committee also voted down a Joyner amendment to waive the waiting period in cases of rape, incest or a threat to the life or health of the woman.

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