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Florida abortion providers file a lawsuit seeking to block the state's 15-week abortion ban


The Florida abortion law was one of the most intensely disputed issues of the 2022 legislative session. When signed into law in April by Gov. Ron DeSantis, opponents pledged to sue.

Several groups including the ACLU of Florida, The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood have done so — filing suit on behalf of abortion providers across the state.

Kara Gross of the ACLU Florida, one of the groups representing the plaintiffs, says the legislation violates Florida’s constitutional privacy clause.

“Article 1, Section 23 of our Florida Constitution states that every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life,” Gross said. “There is no greater government intrusion than politicians dictating whether and when an individual should become a parent."

The providers are seeking an injunction to keep the abortion law from taking effect on July 1.

Laura Goodhue is the executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

“Access to reproductive health care, to health care, should not depend upon your ZIP code,” she said. “It should be the responsibility of Florida politicians to protect our constituencies and our freedoms. So, we look forward to this lawsuit moving forward ad being successful in the courts."

A leaked Supreme Court draft opinion signaling it would uphold a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks is expected this summer.

The high court’s decision could potentially weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade at the federal level, but access to the procedure would then be in the hands of individual states.

Florida is unique in that its constitution includes the word privacy which the U.S Constitution does not.

In 1989, the Florida Supreme Court interpreted that to include within one's right to privacy, a right to terminate a pregnancy and in 2012, Florida voters overwhelmingly rejected Amendment 6 that would have taken those protections away.

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Cathy Carter is the education reporter for WUSF 89.7 and StateImpact Florida.