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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A divided Senate committee Tuesday approved a controversial bill that would require women to wait 24 hours before they could receive abortions.

The 5-3 vote by the Senate Health Policy Committee was the first Senate vote on the proposal (SB 724), though a House version (HB 633) has been approved by two panels and will go to the House Health & Human Services Committee on Wednesday.

The bills would require women to meet with physicians and then wait 24 hours before they could have abortions.

“We want to ensure that women are aware, not just of the psychological effects, but that they are also aware of the medical and physical effects as well,” Senate sponsor Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said after Tuesday’s vote. But opponents contend the bill is an attempt to make it harder for women to have abortions.

“This bill is just another impediment in a continuing effort to erode a woman’s right to choose,” Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said.

The vote was along party lines, with the bill supported by Flores; committee Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach; Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton; Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville; and Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring. Opposing the bill were Joyner; Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens; and Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”

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