Abortion Groups, ACLU Sue Florida Over 15-Week Abortion Ban

A group of abortion providers and the American Civil Liberties Union in Florida have filed a lawsuit to stop the state’s new law, which bans abortion after 15 weeks. Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed HB 5 into law.

It bans abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, with no exemptions for human trafficking, incest, or rape. The law, set to go into effect July 1, allows for exemptions when a fetal abnormality is detected or when a pregnancy is considered a “serious risk” to the mother, but only if confirmed by two physicians in writing.

The Florida ACLU, six abortion providers, and two regional Planned Parenthood offices filed a lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court against the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Health, the state of Florida, and each judicial circuit’s state attorney.

The plaintiffs seek an injunction to keep the bill from being put into effect. They claim HB 5 violates privacy rights enshrined in the state constitution and threatens doctors’ jail time.

“Absent an injunction, the Act will prevent Floridians from exercising their fundamental constitutional right to decide whether to have an abortion prior to viability, causing irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law,” states the lawsuit.

ACLU of Florida Legal Director says new law blocks women’s essential care

Daniel Tilley, ACLU of Florida Legal Director, wrote in a statement that the new law blocks women from receiving access to essential abortion care. “Not only does HB 5 defy the will of the people, it ignores the real-life circumstances of people who need an abortion and deliberately puts them in harm’s way,” said Tilley. “With the U.S. Supreme Court threatening to take away the federal right to abortion, we will do everything in our power to block this cruel attack on Floridians’ fundamental right to get the care they need.”

In a different statement, the Center for Reproductive Rights said Florida’s 15-week ban will prevent abortion access in the surrounding region and have “devastating” effects. “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,” read the statement.

Before HB 5 was signed into law, Florida allowed abortion until the third trimester of pregnancy.