The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to hear a legal challenge to Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, which was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in April 2022.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the law, arguing that the right to abortion is protected by the Florida Constitution. However, the court did not grant his request for a temporary restraining order to prevent the state from enforcing it.
The law, called the Fetal and Infant Mortality Reduction Act or HB 5, will remain in effect as the lawsuit progresses.
HB 5 restricts abortion after a fetus has reached 15 weeks of development. DeSantis has said the law “protects babies in the womb who have beating hearts, who can move, taste, see and feel pain.”
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RESPONSES TO CRITICISM AFTER REJECTING AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES COURSE AP
Abortion rights advocates disagree. They have characterized the abortion bans as an attack on the “dignity and bodily autonomy” of women, calling the law “dangerous.”
“While we are pleased that the court has not completely closed its doors, we are dismayed that it has allowed this dangerous ban to remain in place and hurt real people every day until this case is finally decided,” Whitney White said. , a staff attorney for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.
“We hope the court will act quickly and follow 40 years of precedent and the will of the people to stop this unconstitutional 15-week abortion ban, which has caused chaos and devastation in the state since it went into effect in July,” White continued. “For nearly seven months, women and individuals in need of essential abortion services have been forced to flee the state in search of the medical care they need or face the horror of government-ordered forced pregnancy.
“While today’s order is a step in the right direction, Floridians urgently need relief from Governor DeSantis’ cruel ban,” he added.
SUPREME COURT ASKS BIDEN ADMINISTRATOR FOR OPINION ON FLORIDA AND TEXAS SOCIAL MEDIA LAWS
The lawsuit was previously heard by Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper, who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Cooper said the Florida Constitution contains an explicit “right to privacy” that is “much broader in scope” than any right to privacy under the US Constitution. Furthermore, he ruled that a 15-week limit on abortions is not backed by sufficient state interest. The judge said that while the law has an exception when the abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, there are other conditions that “may not be fatal but can have profound and lasting implications for the patient, the family and the newborn.” if the pregnancy is carried to term”.
“Patients faced with a diagnosis of a fetal condition also need time to make the right decisions for themselves and their families, based on information from their prenatal care providers and from multiple sources knowledgeable about the fetal abnormality in question. , conversations with family and other support systems, and consultation with your clergy, social workers, or other resources,” Cooper wrote.
Cooper’s ruling granted an injunction barring Florida officials from enforcing the 15-week ban, but the state appealed and brought the law back into effect.
In a 4-1 decision, the Florida Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ request for another injunctive relief, but the justices did not give a reason for doing so.
KAMALA HARRIS TAKES HEAT FOR OMITTING RIGHT TO ‘LIFE’ WHEN QUOTING DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: ‘GARBAGE’
The court will schedule oral arguments in a separate order.
The Florida governor’s and attorney general’s offices did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
DeSantis has expressed confidence that the Supreme Court will uphold HB 5, despite the fact that the court previously upheld abortion rights. She has appointed several new conservative justices to the court, who progressive groups fear will redefine how the state constitution’s privacy clause should be interpreted and infringe on abortion rights.
Republicans hold majorities in the state legislature, and some lawmakers have expressed interest in raising new abortion restrictions in the 2023 session.
Fox News’ Ron Blitzer contributed to this report.