TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Women in Florida will have to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

On Tuesday, a Tallahassee judge tossed out a challenge to the waiting period. The decision comes after a nearly seven-year legal battle.

Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey in Tallahassee tossed out a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Gainesville women’s clinic, saying other medical procedures have a similar waiting period and other important decisions like getting married, getting divorced and buying a gun have longer waiting periods.

She said 24 hours is the minimum amount of time to let a woman think over the decision after consulting with a doctor.

Former governor and current U.S. Sen. Rick Scott signed the bill into law in 2015 and it was immediately challenged.

Representative Michele Rayner represents parts of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota Counties. She says this is another barrier for women.

“It’s very presumptuous that someone hasn’t given careful thought to this,” Rayner said. “It’s just another way we’re seeing the Republicans chip away at the right to privacy and the right for people to make their own decisions about their lives and bodies.”

John Stemberger is the president of the Florida Family Policy Council, a pro-life organization in the state. He calls it good law and policy, citing about 26 other states that have a similar law.

“You don’t find in many medical procedures you just don’t get your bladder removed, you set up an appointment and then you come back, so this is not unusual or unconstitutional,” Stemberger said. “It doesn’t prohibit the woman from getting the procedure, it just requires her to reflect to take a moment and come back to have the procedure.”

Staff Attorney at ACLU National Julia Kaye said in a statement:

“On Friday, a Florida state trial court upheld a state abortion restriction that will force Floridians to delay obtaining time-sensitive care for at least 24 hours after meeting with a physician and to make an additional, medically unnecessary trip to a clinic. Once the Court signs one additional technical document (which we expect to happen imminently), the law will permanently take effect for the first time since April 2016, when the Florida Supreme Court put the delay law back on hold after a lower appellate court had briefly allowed it to take effect. This ruling comes after a hearing in late March at which the state trial court indicated it intended to rule for the state and reject the plaintiffs’ challenge to the restriction. The Court’s ruling on Friday stated that it will put the law into effect immediately, without any grace period for implementation, which will cause further harm, upending health care operations and forcing patients across the state to scramble to reschedule appointments.  The legal team is still assessing next steps for the litigation. 

“Since the passage of this law, Florida politicians have continued to place hurdles in the path of people seeking abortion care as part of a larger effort to push care out of reach. The state legislature took its most extreme step yet in attacking reproductive freedom earlier last month when politicians passed a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

“The medically unnecessary delay law singles out abortion and does not apply to other medical procedures, even those that involve far greater health risks. Florida’s law requires patients to make an additional trip to a clinic, which will force many people to miss work, lose wages, and spend more on transportation and childcare, frequently leading to delays of multiple days or even weeks as patients navigate the additional barriers caused by the two-trip requirement. Data show that Florida’s delay law effectively increases the cost of an abortion by $200 on average because of the lost wages, transportation, and childcare costs associated with an extra trip to the clinic. Those without the means to overcome these obstacles could be prevented from getting care entirely. Delaying access to abortion is another tactic designed to take away people’s ability to get care when they’ve decided to have an abortion. Laws that require people to delay care push people to have abortions later in pregnancy, which increases both the cost and the risks of the procedure. In fact, when a similar 24-hour delay law took effect in Mississippi, abortions later in pregnancy increased by 53 percent. 

“In short, Florida politicians are closing the window on both sides for patients seeking abortion, imposing medically unnecessary restrictions that delay care while at the same time banning abortion earlier and earlier in pregnancy. The end goal is clear: outlawing abortion entirely.”

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida Stephanie Fraim said in a statement:

“This is outrageous. This 24-hour delay isn’t about health care, it’s about who has power over you and who can control you. This purely politically motivated law will cause medically unnecessary obstacles to care. Forcing someone to wait between two appointments to think about their decision is just a nuisance, designed to impact care and make it harder for patients to access abortion. Planned Parenthood is prepared to support our patients through this change – but we’re already seeing the damage and cruelty as our patients call us in tears about the added challenges they are facing in planning their lives around having two appointments instead of one.”

“Over the past 7 years this law has been fought in the courts, and all the while women and pregnant people have been making well-informed, sound decisions about their medical care. Floridians have had enough of politicians and our courts continuing to restrict people’s freedom. Women and pregnant people do not need our health care choices second guessed by politicians in Tallahassee who know nothing of our lives, our stories. The repercussion of this mandatory delay will be even worse now that the Florida legislature has taken the extreme step of passing a ban on abortions after 15 weeks. Planned Parenthood is here fighting back and all the while providing compassionate, comprehensive health care.”