TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida judge decided to temporarily block the state’s recently passed abortion bill from becoming law after hearing closing arguments on Thursday.
House Bill 5 will ban nearly all procedures after 15 weeks of pregnancy in Florida. The bill is opposed by reproductive rights organizations like Planned Parenthood of America and the American Civil Liberties Union, who sued the state to block the bill.
Opponents of the bill said it violates the right to privacy under Florida’s constitution. Historically, the state Supreme Court has recognized that right to include the right to abortion.
Under House Bill 5, abortion will be legal only to protect the life or physical health of the mother, or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.
The state argued that the ban promotes maternal health and they have a compelling interest to institute the ban because at around 14 to 18 weeks, the fetus becomes “consciously aware of pain.” In his ruling, Judge John Cooper stated that evidence shows the earliest a fetus can experience pain is 24 weeks,
The temporary injunction order has not yet been signed, so the law is still set to briefly take effect on Friday, July 1.
In response to the ruling, the office of Governor Ron Desantis issued the following statement:
“While we are disappointed with today’s ruling, we know that the pro-life HB 5 will ultimately withstand all legal challenges. The Florida Supreme Court previously misinterpreted Florida’s right to privacy as including a right to an abortion, and we reject this interpretation. The Florida Constitution does not include–and has never included–a right to kill an innocent unborn child. We will appeal today’s ruling and ask the Florida Supreme Court to reverse its existing precedent regarding Florida’s right to privacy. The struggle for life is not over.”