August 1, 2019 / 6:58 PM / 19 days ago

Florida appeals court sends abortion challenge back to lower court

(Reuters) - A Florida appeals court on Thursday sent a lawsuit challenging a state measure requiring a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions back to the lower court after a judge ruled last year that the law was unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, brought by a Gainesville abortion clinic and Medical Students for Choice, challenges the constitutionally of the measure that requires a woman to delay an abortion by at least 24 hours after making a visit to a doctor who would have to inform her of possible risks of the procedure.

In late 2018, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ruled that the law is unconstitutional and permanently blocked it. His ruling came after the state’s Supreme Court approved an injunction against the law that was passed by the legislature and signed by then-governor Rick Scott in 2015.

The state’s First District Court of Appeal on Thursday ruled 2-1 that since the state has built a stronger case “that raises genuine issues of material fact,” it should be heard back in trial court.

Abortion is one of the most divisive issues in the United States. Opponents cite religious beliefs about the sanctity of life, while abortion-rights activists say bans rob women of control over their bodies and futures.

Similar legal battles have ensued over restrictive abortion laws across the United States in recent months and years.

Anti-abortion activists have said they hope to prompt the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling by enacting laws that are assured of facing court challenges.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; editing by Bill Berkrot

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