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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Florida appeals controversial 15-week abortion law ruling, reinstates ban

Judge Cooper ruled the ban was unconstitutional but his temporary statewide injunction was scrapped minutes later

Protestors march down West University Avenue toward Southwest Sixth Street during the North Central Florida March for Reproductive Rights & Justice on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. The group of over 100 converged at Cora P. Roberson Park with another group that started at Depot Park.
Protestors march down West University Avenue toward Southwest Sixth Street during the North Central Florida March for Reproductive Rights & Justice on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. The group of over 100 converged at Cora P. Roberson Park with another group that started at Depot Park.

Florida’s 15-week abortion ban went back in effect Tuesday afternoon after the state appealed a judge’s injunction blocking the ban, nullifying it in less than an hour.

Judicial Circuit Court Judge John Cooper said the abortion restriction violated the Florida Constitution’s privacy prong in a verbal ruling Thursday. The ban could not be blocked until he signed an official written ruling. The injunction will remain temporarily blocked until the District Court of Appeals hears it.

“We knew that that was likely going to be what was decided in that case,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a press conference Friday. “We knew that we were going to have to move forward and continue the legal battle on that.”

UF Levin College of Law professor Danaya Wright said she would be surprised if the appeals court removes Cooper’s injunction because that would overturn state precedent expanding privacy protections to abortions.

Once the case reaches the Florida Supreme Court, which would likely take over a year, Wright predicted, the 15-week ban would be upheld. The restriction may be an infringement of privacy, she said, but it is not an outright denial. 

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are also prepared to fight the 15-week ban up to the Florida Supreme Court.

On behalf of Florida abortion providers, the ACLU, ACLU of Florida, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood, and Jenner & Block — a law firm — released a joint statement in response to the state’s appeal. 

“Everyone deserves the ability to access the abortion care they need, and we’ll continue fighting for that right with every tool at our disposal,” the release said.

Teetering between the 24-week ban and 15-week ban can confuse both patients and health care staff, communications and marketing director of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida Christina Noce said. Abortion care is still legal in the state but can only be provided prior to 15 weeks of pregnancy for now.

“Those that oppose safe, legal abortion — they want this to be confusing, they want this to be challenging and have patients undergo hurdles to get care,” she said. “And that's exactly what's happening.”

The state has a 24-hour mandatory delay in place, meaning anyone seeking an abortion must visit the doctor twice before receiving the procedure — another hurdle elongating and complicating the process of scheduling an abortion.

Planned Parenthood will continue to add appointments, extend hours and even fly physicians into the state to help provide care over the coming months.

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Contact Carissa Allen at callen@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @carissaallenn.

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Carissa Allen

Carissa Allen is a third-year journalism and political science double major. She is excited to continue her work on the Metro desk this semester as the East Gainesville Reporter. In her free time, you can find her scuba diving, working out or listening to a podcast.


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