On Thursday, a Florida Circuit Judge issued a temporary injunction against the new 15-week abortion ban, hours before its effective date, July 1.
Leon County Circuit Judge, John Cooper, sided with Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and abortion providers, deeming the new legislation “unconstitutional.”
The judge also questioned and rejected the state’s argument that a fetus can feel pain at 15 weeks, and a woman who terminates pregnancy later is exposed to higher medical risk. However, he did not draw on the Roe v. Wade ruling last week but rather the state constitution’s language on privacy rights.
The legislation challengers had leaned heavily on a 1980 amendment to Article 1 Section 23 of the state constitutions: the privacy clause. “Right of privacy.—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. This section shall not be construed to limit the public’s right of access to public records and meetings as provided by law.”
“I’m not here to litigate abortion,” Cooper said. “I’m here to litigate the right to privacy in Florida. I’m not here to litigate Roe v. Wade.”
In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed House Bill 5, which bans most abortions after 15 weeks with the exceptions of endangerment to the mother’s life or “fatal, fetal abnormalities.”,
The law will go into effect on July 1 at midnight, as Cooper noted the injunction would not be effective until he signed it.
“So, I will be entering a temporary injunction. It will be a statewide temporary injunction. It will only be effective when I sign an order, so it will be not today.” His signature isn’t excepted before Tuesday, according to the Florida Phoenix.
On Thursday, DeSantis announced he intends to appeal the judge’s ruling and believes the law would “withstand all legal challenges.” But, the governor also said, “These are unborn babies that have heartbeats, they can feel pain, they can suck their thumb, and to say that the state Constitution mandates things like dismemberment abortions — I just don’t think that’s the proper interpretation.”
DeSantis spokesperson Bryan Griffin told the Tampa Bay Times, “The Florida Supreme Court previously misinterpreted Florida’s right to privacy as including a right to an abortion, and we reject this interpretation,” Griffin said. “The Florida Constitution does not include – and has never included – a right to kill an innocent unborn child.”