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Judge: State Must Pay Planned Parenthood Legal Fees

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The state will have to pay Planned Parenthood's legal fees after a federal judge this summer blocked a law that would have led to increased inspections of clinic records and prevented abortion providers from receiving public money for other health services.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, who issued a permanent injunction against the law in August, issued an order this week that said Planned Parenthood is entitled to be reimbursed for its attorneys' fees. The order, issued Monday, said the amount will be determined later.

Planned Parenthood affiliates filed the case after the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott approved the controversial law early this year. Hinkle blocked part of the law that would have required state health officials to inspect half of all abortion patients' records. He also ruled against perhaps the law's most-controversial provision, which sought to prevent public funds from going to abortion providers.

Clinics already cannot receive tax dollars to pay for abortions, but the new law also would have cut off funding that providers receive to offer other women's health services.

Lawyers for the state argued that the ban on using public funds for other services was permissible because it did not impose an "undue burden" on women's right to have abortions. But Planned Parenthood said the law would prevent women from getting needed health services, such as cancer screenings and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.