Florida Supreme Court Reminds Politicians That Women Are Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

Every day, people face important medical decisions. When tough choices arise, we consult with our health care providers about the pros and cons of different treatment options. We meditate on our goals and fears. Some of us will turn to family or friends for advice. Some of us will pray.

No one goes to the state capitol building to ask a politician their opinion. 

Yet when it comes to a woman’s decision to end her pregnancy, politicians feel entitled to insert themselves into the equation. We all agree that a woman seeking abortion care, like every other patient, should receive all medically appropriate information. But in dozens of states, legislators demand that a woman who has decided to have an abortion — unlike any other patient seeking any other form of medical care — delay her procedure by a certain amount of time (typically 24 hours or more) after receiving certain state-mandated information. 

In 15 of these states, legislators have gone even further, insisting that a woman receive that mandatory information in-person — thus requiring her to make an additional, medically unnecessary trip to her doctor. These laws are especially burdensome for low-income women who are forced to arrange and pay for double the transportation, double the child care, and double the time off work. They also put victims of domestic violence at risk by making it harder for them to keep their abortion decision confidential, and they force women experiencing a pregnancy-related illness to remain sicker, longer.

Fortunately, in a victory for Florida women and for common decency, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s decision blocking the state’s 24-hour mandatory abortion delay law from taking effect while the litigation proceeds. In upholding the preliminary injunction, the court also found that the law likely violates the Florida Constitution’s strong right of privacy. 

How do politicians even justify these insulting, harmful laws? Good question. The state of Florida has argued that it is necessary to "protect[] pregnant women from undergoing serious procedures without minimal private time to reflect” on the decision. 

But pregnant women don’t need politicians to protect them from themselves by micro-managing their schedules.

As the court explained, “a woman can already take all of the time she needs to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy, both before she arrives at the clinic and after she receives the required counseling information.” Thus, in practice, “[t]he Mandatory Delay Law impacts only those women who have already made the choice to end their pregnancies.”

This is not about informed consent. To the contrary, the court observed that the law “turns informed consent on its head, placing the State squarely between a woman who has already made her decision to terminate her pregnancy and her doctor who has decided that the procedure is appropriate for his or her patient.”  

No one goes to the state capitol building to ask a politician their opinion. 

Moreover, if this is really just about ensuring that patients are fully informed, then why is it, the court asked, that “[n]o other medical procedure, even those with greater health consequences, requires a twenty-four hour waiting period in the informed consent process”?   

Politicians apparently think that women seeking abortion care are less capable decision-makers than any other patients. But, as the ACLU argued in court, women don’t need a mandatory “time out” before they can make a decision about their health care. 

The Florida Supreme Court’s decision should serve as a wake-up call to politicians to stop passing laws that have no medical justification and do nothing but insult and burden women seeking abortion care. 

Add a comment (28)
Read the Terms of Use

Anonymous

Wow. USA, u r still in the dark ages. The belief that 51% of ur population need political intervention before they have an abortion is just ridicules. Mysognist bias elderly males in power run a muck!

Linda

You got it!

Lawrence Dawson

Spot on!

Anonymous

I would never get an abortion. For Me, it would be morally wrong.
HOWEVER, I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT TO HAVE AN ABORTION OR NOT IS A DECISION EVERY WOMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO MAKE. THEY SEARCH THEIR HEARTS;THEIR SOULS; THEY TALK TO GOD........AND THEN THEY DECIDE.
NO law; no legislators; no one of the judicial branch; no one of the executive branch HAS ANY RIGHT TO TAKE that difficult decision from A WOMAN. THEY DO NOT decide lightly whether or not they will elect to abort....but it is the WOMAN'S RIGHT TO MAKE THE DECISION. The Government; the Law...THEY OWN NO WOMAN'S MIND, SOUL OR BODY!
I had a cousin who got pregnant. She was in her early twenties. I was a little bit older. She was afraid to speak to anyone but me. I first told her that she REALLY needed to fill-in my aunt, her step-mother.
I told her my views on abortion, but ALSO told her: "This is a personal decision you have to make for yourself. When you decide, if you choose abortion, I will take you to and from the clinic". She decided on abortion.
When I was growing up, you would hear hushed conversations about someone getting pregnant, and since abortion was, at that time illegal, you heard about abortions down alleys by means of a coat hanger or an abortive beverage.
If the legislature makes abortion illegal;if it takes a woman's control over her body away, YOU WILL SEE THE ORGAN-DAMAGING COAT HANGERS AND ABORTIVE CONCOCTIONS AGAIN.
DO you know why?????
NO WOMAN IS GOING TO LAY DOWN THEIR CONTROL OVER THEIR OWN BODY. WE are not ninnies who can't make decisions regarding our bodies.

Anonymous in Fl

Well said!

Anonymous

I agree 100%. I personally could not have one, but I don't think anyone has the right to tell someone they cannot. And, I have said too that if someone really wants one, they will find a way. I would prefer a doctor in a sterile environment than a wanna be surgeon in a back alley. Ban abortions and a lot of young women will pay a heavy price

Anonymous

Thank you for expressing that so eloquently. I am terribly afraid what will happen to women and teenage girls if they are forced to take matters into their own hands.

And truly, what right do politicians have to force their personal beliefs on women?. If I remember correctly, divorce is also frowned upon by several religious groups, however men have conveniently managed to get their conscious to learn to overlook that digression. Religious and medical choices should be handled individually. Any woman I've known who decided to get an abortion suffered many emotional battles. Politics should not be part of the already overwhelming decision.

Beng

Right on!

Anonymous

Amen to that! I feel the same. I personally wouldn't have one, and honestly the thought of them really hurts my heart, but that is MY view and MY thought. I have no right to force that belief on others. Most women put a LOT of thought into that decision, which can be extremely difficult for many. No one has the right to tell someone else what they can do with their life!
But for the politicians who want to end abortion, maybe they should make health care affordable, birth control and sexual education a priority and benefits like WIC accessible. Societies that make health and education a priority have far lower abortion rates and need. Unfortunately, the right in America is only pro-life if it concerns a fetus and telling a woman what she can do with herself.

Mr Mike in COS

Amen. You could not have articulated my view(s) on this topic any clearer or more eloquently!

Pages

Sign Up for Breaking News