Leon County judge temporarily blocks Florida’s 15-week abortion ban
A judge in Leon County ruled that Florida’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy violates the state’s constitution. He issued a temporary injunction on Thursday preventing the statewide ban from going into effect Friday.
Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper listened to attorneys’ closing statements on Thursday in Tallahassee after a group of reproductive health care providers challenged the constitutionality of the state’s ban.
The reproductive health care providers, including Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida, argued the ban violates privacy rights that are protected by the state’s constitution.
“It violates the privacy provision of the Florida constitution,” Cooper said in court adding, “The state has failed to prove that this law, HB 5, has a compelling state interest to protect.”
House Bill 5, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in April, was set to reduce the existing 24-week ban — without exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for DeSantis, released a statement.
“The Florida Supreme Court previously misinterpreted Florida’s right to privacy as including a right to an abortion,” Pushaw wrote. “We reject this interpretation because the Florida Constitution does not include–and has never included–a right to kill an innocent unborn child.”
Pusha also said that although there was disappointment DeSantis believes the law will ultimately withstand all legal challenges.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm Jenner & Block filed the lawsuit on June 1 on behalf of Planned Parenthood in Florida, Gainesville Woman Care, Indian Rocks Woman’s Center, St. Petersburg Woman’s Health Center, Tampa Woman’s Health Center, and A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville.
Cooper ruled in their favor and said the state’s privacy law directly impacts women’s rights.
“We will appeal today’s ruling and ask the Florida Supreme Court to reverse its existing precedent regarding Florida’s right to privacy,” Pusha said. “The struggle for life is not over.”