TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a case challenging the state’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The case, titled Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida v. Florida, is blocking a more restrictive abortion law from being implemented while it is tied up in the courts.
A six-week abortion ban was supposed to take effect on June 1 after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it into law in April. But first, the state’s top court must decide if the “Fetal Protection Act,” which passed in 2022, violates the right to privacy enshrined in the Florida Constitution.
The privacy clause states, “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.”
In the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood and other plaintiffs argue that because the privacy clause protects a person’s “private life” from “government intrusion,” it includes the right to abortion. The plaintiffs claim the Fetal Protection Act irreparably harms women “by denying them constitutionally-protected medical care.”
The state argues a more narrow view of the privacy clause, claiming that it only protects an individual’s information from being accessed or viewed by the government. They also claim that “the questions raised by abortion are not judicial questions,” and that it should be left to the legislative branch to decide.
Oral arguments are set to begin Sept. 8, according to court documents filed on Friday.
The six-week ban will only take effect if the Florida Supreme Court upholds the 15-week ban. If justices decide the privacy clause does not apply to abortion, the six-week ban would go into effect 30 days after that ruling.