Florida abortion providers are in court to argue against the state's new 15-week ban
The civil rights groups and abortion providers say an amendment in the state constitution guarantees a broad right to privacy, which includes the right to abortion.
A Leon County Circuit court on Monday is being asked to block a new Florida law which bans most abortions after 15 weeks just days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that had provided federal protections for abortions for almost 50 years.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers are asking the judge to stop the new law from taking effect this Friday.
The civil rights groups and abortion providers argue that an amendment in the state constitution guarantees a broad right to privacy, which includes the right to abortion.
Abortion remains legal in Florida, but the new law shortens access from 24 weeks to 15 weeks for most abortions.
But on Monday, the circuit Judge will hear arguments on a proposed temporary injunction to block that law (HB 5), signed by in April by Gov,. Ron DeSantis.
"Florida is one of 11 states that has a stronger right to privacy under the state constitution than under the federal constitution and for many years now, the right to an abortion was protected under Florida's state constitution," said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a professor of law at Stetson University.
However, The ban is the strictest in the state's history. The 15-week limit, which has no exceptions for rape or incest, was framed by its supporters as a compromise against an earlier bill that called for a six week ban. That proposal never made its way out of committee.
Whitney White, a staff attorney with the Reproductive Freedom Project at the ACLU, is involved in the hearing Monday.
“It’s very clear under binding precedent that the right to decide to terminate a pregnancy is a central right to Florida’s privacy clause and that’s what we’re relying on in this case," said White.
The Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade ends a half-century guarantee of federal protection of abortion rights.
The Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called the Roe decision "an unprecedented attack on women’s rights and reproductive freedom."
"The courts are letting anti-abortion politicians attack our fundamental rights, but they don’t get the final say — we do,” interim executive director Amy Turkel said. “While we will do everything in our power to block these bans in the courts, we’re not stopping there. We are mobilizing people in the streets and taking this fight to the ballot box to hold politicians accountable. Together we can ensure we keep the power to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families.”
A South Florida Jewish congregation has also filed a separate challenge arguing it infringes upon their religious freedom.
Information from WFSU reporter Regan McCarthy was used in this report.
This story will be updated.
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