Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Rick Scott signs new 24-hour barrier to abortions into law

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Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed into law HB 633, which creates a new 24-hour waiting period after a woman requests an abortion from a medical provider before the procedure can be administered.

There was some controversy over whether or not Scott would approve the law, as well as an organized effort to defeat it in the legislative process.

The bill drew 41 “No” votes when it came before the House floor in April, mostly from Democrats, though Republican state Reps. Heather Fitzenhagen, Ray PilonHalsey Beshears, Holly Raschein and Tom Goodson crossed party lines to oppose the proposal. (No Senate Republicans crossed the aisle.)

The office of early twenty-something state Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, the bill’s primary sponsor, issued the following upon request for comment on the bill’s final approval:

“We are blessed in the state of Florida to have a governor that stands for life,” said Sullivan, a Republican from Lake County’s Mount Dora.

“I’m grateful for his support of House Bill 633, which will empower women across our state to make an informed decision on this life-changing procedure. Life is sacred and valuable and this bill protects life and will safeguard a woman’s overall health and well-being.”

The bill took heavy fire from pro-choice quarters, including from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, which argued the bill was an unnecessary incursion into a woman’s right to an abortion.

“If this bill becomes law, even when a woman has already received state-mandated counseling and made a deliberate and fully informed decision, she will be forced to wait 24 hours before having an abortion. That is wrong,” said Planned Parenthood South Florida and Treasure Coast CEO and President Lillian A. Tamayo on the occasion of the measure’s passage in an early subcommittee.

Florida’s Catholic bishops applauded Scott’s move.

“When we recall major life decisions, we recognize that we find it prudent to gather all the necessary information and take some time to think,” said Ingrid Delgado, social policy advocate for the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Scott’s approval of the measure came as part of a 55-bill raft of laws enacted into state statute by his signature late Wednesday afternoon, as a deadline to sign or veto them loomed.

The bill takes effect on July 1.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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