A Florida court has overturned a circuit judge’s ruling that women should not be expected to adhere to a waiting period before obtaining an abortion.
In a victory for pro-lifers, the First District Court of Appeal effectively re-legitimized a 2015 law requiring women to wait 24 hours before making a final decision to undergo a termination procedure. The case will now be passed back to the Leon County circuit court for reconsideration.
Writing the majority opinion alongside Judge Harvey Jay, Judge Timothy Osterhaus argued that, as per state guidelines, a 24-hour waiting period is needed to ensure “informed consent” from the woman seeking an abortion.
“Rather than singling out and burdening abortion procedures with arbitrary requirements, the state’s evidence indicates that the 24-hour law brings abortion procedures in Florida into compliance with medical informed consent standards and tangibly improves health outcomes for women,” Osterhaus added, according to the Miami Herald.
In January, the now-retired Leon County Circuit Judge, Terry Lewis, argued that the waiting period law was unconstitutional, violated privacy rights and acted as an unnecessary hold-up for women seeking to abort their baby. Lewis also issued a summary judgment without holding a full trial – something the appeals court deemed unfair.
The appeals court majority argued that because a “disputed genuine issues of material fact remain, appellees [the law’s opponents] are not entitled to final summary judgment.” It added that “further consideration of appellees’ constitutional challenge,” must now take place.
“Women claiming particular harms from the 24-hour law based on their specific circumstances may challenge the law’s application to them. But those would be as-applied constitutional challenges. No such challenge has been made here,” Osterhaus noted. “For this facial challenge, the correct legal test is not whether the 24-hour law violates the constitutional rights of some women in some circumstances, but whether it violates the rights of all women in all circumstances.”
Former Florida governor, Republican Rick Scott, signed the waiting period measure into law back in 2015.
At the time, Republican state Representative Jennifer Sullivan, who sponsored the legislation, said that the law “means women will be empowered to make fully informed decisions,” according to Reuters.
“It’s just common courtesy to have a face-to-face conversation with your doctor about such an important decision, she added, “especially for such an irreversible procedure as an abortion.”
As an actor who often speaks out about his Christian faith, Chris Pratt isn’t convinced that Hollywood is anti-religious.
“I think that there’s this narrative that exists out there that Hollywood is anti-Christian or anti-religious, but it’s just not the case,” the “Jurassic World” star told The Associated Press this week.
On the contrary, Pratt said, Hollywood’s culture encourages people to embrace whatever is authentic to them.
“They are kind of not anti-anything. They are kind of pro whatever is authentic to you. And I like that,” the actor said. “Because it’s authentic for me to be pro-Christian, pro-Jesus. That’s my thing. I like it.”
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Pratt said that no one in Hollywood has ever tried to shame him to his face about his faith. Even if they did it behind his back, he said, “I’m not going to change.”
The actor has often used his appearances on award shows to share his religious beliefs. In June, while accepting the Generation Award at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards, Pratt offered his listeners some spiritual advice.
“God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do,” Pratt said while listing what he called nine essential life rules.
He also advised the audience to be careful with their souls, serve others and learn to pray.
“You are imperfect. You always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way,” the actor said. “And if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift.”
Pratt told AP that he knows this kind of message might not be for everybody. But he thinks there are people out there who are yearning to hear it.
“And nothing fills my soul more than to think that maybe some kid watching that would say, ‘Hey, I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve been thinking about praying. Let me try that out,’” he said.
Pratt, who was raised Lutheran, spoke about his Christian awakening in a January 2017 Vanity Fair article. As a struggling young actor, the Minnesota native moved to Maui, Hawaii. He lived in a van parked on the beach and worked as a waiter at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Though his surroundings were idyllic, Pratt recalled feeling lost.
One day, when he was sitting outside a grocery story, a stranger came up and invited him to church.
“He said, ‘Jesus told me to talk to you …’ At that moment I was like, I think I have to go with this guy,” Pratt told Vanity Fair. “He took me to church. Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life.”
Pratt said he became a committed Christian two days later and even helped the stranger, who apparently worked for a Messianic Jewish organization.
One month later, according to Esquire, Pratt was discovered by a director at Bubba Gump Shrimp. He was cast in a short film, which eventually led to bigger acting gigs.
Last year, Pratt was spotted in Los Angeles attending Hillsong Church, which is part of an evangelical Christian group of churches known for attracting quite a few celebrities, including Justin Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian.
He feels speaking publicly about his faith has become his calling, Pratt told AP.
“That’s like the only way I feel like I can repay what has essentially been a giant gift in my life,” he said.
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