An appeal reinstates Florida's abortion law minutes after the judge's written order blocked it
As expected, a Leon County judge issued a written order on Tuesday that temporarily blocked Florida's new 15-week abortion ban days after it took effect in the state.
Minutes later, also as expected, attorneys representing the state filed an appeal to the injunction, triggering an automatic freeze of the ruling, keeping the law in place.
Plantiffs, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers, have said they would then immediately seek to have that freeze reversed. The case is expected to eventually be decided by the Florida Supreme Court.
Judge John Cooper's written order was expected following an oral ruling Thursday in which he said the law violated the state constitution.
In his 68-page ruling, Cooper said the law violates the privacy clause of the state constitution, which says that "every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life except as otherwise provided herein.”
Florida courts have held that the clause extends to abortion, and Cooper cited those cases.
The new law (HB 5), passed in this year's legislative session, would prevent abortions beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy without exceptions for rape or incest, although an exception would be allowed for instances of a “fatal fetal abnormality.” Physicians or other medical professionals could lose their licenses and face administrative fines of $10,000 for each violation.
Until now, Florida has generally allowed abortions until about 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The legal back-and-forth in Florida came as abortion laws change at a frenzied pace across the country following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
Florida's law had gone into effect Friday before being blocked Tuesday.