News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Health News Florida

House Bill Requiring a Wait Period Before Abortions Clears First Panel

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Mount Dora)
Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Mount Dora)

A woman would have to wait 24-hours before having an abortion under a proposal approved by a House Health panel Thursday. Such bills  have become a fixture in the Florida legislature.

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Mount Dora)
Credit Florida House of Representatives
Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Mount Dora)

Activists like Pam Olsen argue a wait time is standard across many industries in Florida:

“We make people wait 24 hours, actually I think its three days to get married,  to buy a handgun. I’ve had to go to the doctor and get informed information to have surgeries, then come back," she told a House health panel Thursday.

Yet opponents argue the measure is an attempt to restrict abortions. Michelle Richardson represents the ACLU of Florida:

“Having an abortion is also incredibly safe, with a 99 percent safety record," she told lawmakers. "The delay you are considering is not medically necessary and could in fact, interfere with a woman’s health.”

The bill was approved on a party line vote with little debate and still has more committee stops. It's sponsor, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Mount Dora), says believes it’s important to allow time for a woman to reflect on her decision.

“Though it can’t be proven by a single statistic due to the nature of this procedure, from my personal experiences, I have witnessed the pressure  placed upon a woman, especially younger women by their parents, friends and spouse or boyfriend, to make a rushed decision," Sullivan said.

Several other abortion bills are pending in the legislature and may face more scrutiny in the Senate.

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.