TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ( Associated Press) — Reproductive health providers sued Florida on Wednesday over a new law banning abortion after 15 weeks, many for such laws passed nationwide by Republican leaders in anticipation of a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling. One of the legal challenges is that the process will be limited.
A filing in state court in Tallahassee from Planned Parenthood and other health centers alleges that the law violates a provision in the state constitution guaranteeing a person’s right to privacy, “including the right to an abortion.”
“HB5 fundamentally reduces the ability of a Floridian to make decisions about continuing a pregnancy and having children, in violation of their rights under the Florida Constitution,” the filing reads.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed the 15-week ban into law in April, prompting a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion to restrict access to the procedure as part of a growing conservative movement. The latter would uphold the Mississippi law banning abortion. The High Court’s decision, expected this summer, could potentially undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade and other legal challenges unlikely to succeed.
DeSantis’s office did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.
watch: Most American Roe v. Wade but many want abortion ban, poll shows
Florida’s law, effective July 1, includes exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life, to prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow exemption in cases where the pregnancy was caused by rape, incest or human trafficking. Under current law, Florida allows abortions up to 24 weeks old.
A federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report states that of the approximately 72,000 abortions reported in Florida in 2019, about 2% were performed after 15 weeks. In the same year, 2,256 out-of-state residents had abortions in Florida, according to the CDC, the majority of whom — about 1,200 — were coming from Georgia and more than 300 from Alabama. The origin of the remaining patients was unclear.
Florida Republicans have said they want the state to be well placed to limit access to abortion if the Supreme Court upholds Mississippi’s law. If the row is reversed, 26 states are certain or likely to immediately ban or severely restrict abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that supports abortion rights.
Republican lawmakers in other states have introduced new abortion restrictions, some similar to Texas laws that ban the procedure after about six weeks and leave enforcement to private citizens.
In Oklahoma, Republican Governor Kevin Stitt has signed a bill to make it a felony to perform an abortion that could carry up to a decade in prison. In March, Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation to outlaw abortion after 15 weeks if the US Supreme Court upheld Mississippi’s law.