Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed a controversial new law which requires women in the state to wait 24 hours after initially visiting a doctor to have an abortion.
The Miami Herald reports that the sole exception to the wait is if women can produce a "police report, court order or medical report proving the pregnancy came as a result of rape, incest, domestic violence or human trafficking." The new requirement accompanies a 2011 law approved by Scott, which requires women receive an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, who sponsored the measure, said it will further allow women to take time to make an "informed decision," as she told the paper, "versus a pressured, rushed, unexpected one."
"This isn't changing access; it's not shutting down clinics," she added, explaining that the waiting period is important to prevent women being persuaded into having the procedure.
Opponents of the state law, which will go into effect July 1, say that it "unnecessarily burden women by creating a stressful waiting period and additional expense."
Barbara Zdravecky, president of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, also expressed concern that the waiting period could violate the constitutional right to privacy in Florida.
"This is an undue burden," Zdravecky said, "particularly on poor women, women of low incomes who are dependent on their jobs and on child care to have to make an appointment in the first place."
In passing the measure, Florida is joining 25 other states where waiting periods ranging from 18 to 72 hours are in effect. South Dakota enacted the first 72-hour waiting period in 2011, with Utah following suit in 2012 and Missouri late last year. North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa, and Mississippi have introduced 72-hour legislation as well.
A January 2014 Rasmussen poll showed 49 percent of Americans supporting waiting periods, with 39 percent opposing.
Adolfo J. Castañeda, director of Hispanic education at Human Life International in Miami, said the passing of the bill is good news for the pro-life community, as he believes many women will reconsider their decision to have an abortion if given a waiting period.
"It's going to help at least to limit the number of abortions in our state," he told LifeSiteNews. The 24-hour waiting period "gives a woman considering an abortion a chance to get to know other alternatives - she can think of the baby, help her, bring her to term, and also get to know the development of the baby in the womb. That's a positive thing."