On Friday afternoon, Florida's Supreme Court temporarily removed a hurdle for women trying to access legal abortion care. The court suspended the state's 24-hour abortion waiting period, which required women to receive counseling on their first visit and then wait at least a day before being allowed to go through with the procedure.
Twenty four hours might not sound like much, but it's a significant issue especially for low-income women who might find it harder to take time off, travel to a clinic, and have to repeat the process again to get the healthcare she needs. Nationally, Bustle reports, 59% of women are made to go through this process before they're allowed to have an abortion. The World Health Organization calls waiting periods an unnecessary requirement, standing in the way of safe abortion care for women.
The law that requires the 24-hour wait took effect in February. Today's suspension will last until the court decides whether or not to hear the case against the law brought by the ACLU, which alleges the waiting period is unconstitutional.
Even if the court does review the case and rule in favor of the ACLU, women in Florida face more restrictions, built on the assumption that they can't make decisions about their own health: women are expected to have ultrasounds before their abortions; public health insurance only covers abortion in cases of rape, incest, or if the woman's life is at risk; and parents of minors must be informed before an abortion.