Judge Issues Block on Florida’s 15-Week Abortion Ban

Via Flickr

Jonathan Casaverde-Maimon / Contributing Writer

A Florida judge has announced his intent to temporarily block Florida House Bill No.5.

FHB5, which will still take effect July 1, bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and holds no exception for cases of rape or incest.  The block, granted by Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper will take effect as soon as the order is signed early next week. The block would allow for abortions to continue up to the 24th week. 

Cooper stated the ban was unconstitutional. Although the right to privacy is not in the US constitution, it is part of the Florida constitution. 

Brought forth by the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, the lawsuit at the center of the hearing argued that FHB5 had infringed Florida’s constitutional right of privacy law

Deputy Attorney General James Percival argued that the restriction would reduce fetal suffering, as well as minimize the physical and mental health risks allegedly caused by abortions past the 15-week mark. 

The state also brought three expert witnesses to testify on the scientific validity of FHB5, however, Cooper impugned their credibility, calling them out of touch with the mainstream scientific and medical communities.  

In a press release addressing Cooper’s decision, Stephanie Fraim, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, hesitantly praised the decision.

“While this is only a first step in fighting this dangerous abortion ban, we are grateful this court recognized that it is an unconstitutional intrusion on our patient’s and providers’ medical decision,” stated Fraim.

With the injunction days away, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has already announced the state’s intent to appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. 

Though expected, questions now loom over the conservative makeup of the court, whose members have all been appointed by Republicans, three of which were appointed by DeSantis. 

Speaking about the impending injunction during a Thursday press conference, DeSantis said he would fight the decision. 

“To say the state constitution mandates things like dismemberment abortions, I just don’t think that’s the proper interpretation,” said DeSantis.

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