TALLAHASSEE, FL — Shortly after a state trial court officially issued an order blocking the state’s 15-week abortion ban on the ground it likely violates Florida’s state constitution and will cause irreparable harm, the state appealed the ruling, triggering an automatic stay of that injunction under Florida state law. The law, which has been in effect since July 1, has already had devastating consequences on the health and futures of Floridians by forcing them to continue carrying pregnancies against their will. Plaintiffs plan to file a motion seeking to reinstate the injunction and will continue fighting to permanently block the ban.
On behalf of Florida abortion providers, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm Jenner & Block released the following statement in response to a stay being issued:
“Florida’s 15-week ban has already blocked access to essential abortion care since last Friday, and it will continue to harm pregnant people until it is blocked. The trial court correctly recognized this law as a blatant violation of Floridians’ state constitutional rights, and we’re determined to get it blocked for good. The majority of people support the right to get essential abortion care in Florida — a right many have relied on for decades to secure the life they wanted for themselves and their families.
“Since last Friday, women and other people who can become pregnant have been forced into a second-class status by HB 5, which denies them the right to make decisions about their bodies, their health care, and their futures. The impacts of allowing this ban to remain in effect will fall hardest on people of color, those trying to make ends meet, immigrants, young people, and vulnerable populations like survivors of intimate partner violence.
“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. If you need care and are worried about how this ban will affect you, please reach out to your local abortion clinic or fund to learn about your options.”
Even with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that eliminated the federal constitutional right to abortion, House Bill 5 (HB 5) is blatantly unconstitutional under Florida’s state constitution and this law defies the clear will of the people in Florida. Two-thirds of Floridians already support the right to abortion, and voters have consistently cast their ballot to ensure that the state constitution provides independent protection for the right to abortion. In 1980, Florida voters amended the state constitution to provide broad protections for individual privacy rights — including abortion. And in 2012, voters overwhelmingly rejected Amendment 6, which would have taken those protections away.
HB 5 will force Floridians to remain pregnant against their will, violating their dignity and bodily autonomy and endangering their families, their health, and even their lives. The impacts of pushing reproductive health care out of reach in the middle of a maternal mortality crisis will fall hardest on Black women, who are nearly three times more likely than white women to die during childbirth or shortly after.
This law will be yet another barrier to essential care in a state where abortion access has been under attack for years. Floridians already face burdensome restrictions to getting an abortion — such as a ban on insurance plans on the state exchange covering abortion; a parental consent requirement that makes it harder for young people to get abortions; and a law that requires people to make an additional, unnecessary trip to an abortion provider before receiving care, which took effect in April. There are also many other barriers to access for people who need abortion care including: delays in finding out they’re pregnant; difficulty affording essential health care; and a lack of nearby providers.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm Jenner & Block filed this lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida; Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida; Gainesville Woman Care; Indian Rocks Woman’s Center; St. Petersburg Woman’s Health Center; Tampa Woman’s Health Center; A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville; and Dr. Shelly Tien.
An overview of the case and the complaint can be found here.