A Florida judge temporarily blocks Florida's 15-week abortion ban

A Florida judge temporarily blocks Florida’s 15-week abortion ban

Following a legal challenge by reproductive health professionals who claim that the state constitution gives a right to the operation, a Florida judge on Thursday announced he would temporarily prohibit a 15-week abortion ban from going into force.

The decision was given orally from the bench by Judge John C. Cooper. He also announced that he would shortly sign the interim order.

The ruling was made a few days after the famous Roe v. Wade decision from 1973 was overruled by the US Supreme Court, removing federal protections for abortions and starting new, violent struggles in state legislatures and courts over access to the operation.

This spring, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state’s 15-week abortion ban into law after the GOP-controlled state legislature had approved it. It was supposed to start on Friday.

It is virtually inevitable that the state will appeal the decision.

Abortions would be prohibited after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with few exceptions if the procedure was required to save the pregnant woman’s life, avoid significant damage, or treat a fatally abnormal baby. 

No exceptions are allowed for pregnancies brought on by rape, incest, or human trafficking. Florida’s existing legal framework permits abortions up to 24 weeks.

Infringers risk up to five years in jail. In addition, medical practitioners, including doctors, might have their licenses revoked and be subject to administrative penalties of $10,000 for each infraction.

A 1980 amendment to the Florida state constitution that guarantees a broad right to privacy and that the state Supreme Court has construed to cover abortion is at the center of the legal controversy. 

By rejecting a ballot measure that would have undermined its safeguards, Florida voters reaffirmed the right to privacy in 2012, according to plaintiffs.

The Florida legislature recently made a blatant effort to overturn the will of the Florida people, the abortion providers said, despite Florida’s history of safeguarding the right to abortion.

The state maintained that since abortion doctors were working as third parties on behalf of their patients, they lacked standing to assert a claim of a personal right to privacy. 

Additionally, state attorneys argued that the right to abortion is not protected by the state’s constitutional right to privacy since the state is interested in preserving health and potential life.

According to data, most abortions in Florida take place before the 15-week threshold. 

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 2% of the almost 72,000 abortions in Florida in 2019 were carried out beyond 15 weeks.