Updated Jul 5, 2022 - Health

Florida's 15-week abortion ban to continue being enforced after appeal

Picture of an abortion rights rally
Abortion rights advocates at a rally and overnight sit-in at Five Points Park in Sarasota on June 24. Photo: Thomas Simonetti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Minutes after a district court judge temporarily blocked Florida's 15-week abortion ban, state officials appealed the ruling, allowing for the law to take effect once more.

The latest: The law, which was signed in April, became active on Friday and was in effect over the weekend before being blocked on Tuesday by Leon County Judge John Cooper, who had declared the law to be "unconstitutional."

  • Shortly after a temporary restraining order had been issued on the law, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an appeal, triggering an automatic stay of the order under state law.

Details: Florida's H.B. 5 has no exceptions for rape or incest and only allows abortions past 15 weeks in cases of a medical emergency or if there's a "fatal fetal abnormality."

  • Abortions must also be reported to the state, along with information on why the procedure was performed.

Catch up fast: Abortion providers filed a lawsuit against state officials earlier this month saying the law violates the Florida Constitution.

  • Prior to the 15-week ban taking effect, abortion in Florida was legal up until the 24th week of pregnancy.

What they're saying: "Since last Friday, women and other people who can become pregnant have been forced into a second-class status by H.B. 5, which denies them the right to make decisions about their bodies, their health care, and their futures," according to a joint statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm Jenner & Block, all of which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the abortion providers.

  • "The impacts of allowing this ban to remain in effect will fall hardest on people of color, those trying to make ends meet, immigrants, young people, and vulnerable populations like survivors of intimate partner violence."

Last Thursday, when Cooper announced he'd be temporarily blocking the ban, he said the law is "unconstitutional" because it violates the privacy provision of the state's constitution and "does not meet the standard" of the Florida Supreme Court rulings that protect abortion rights in the state.

  • "Florida passed into its constitution an explicit right of privacy that is not contained in the U.S. Constitution. The Florida Supreme Court has determined in its words 'Florida's privacy provision is clearly implicated in a woman's decision on whether or not to continue her pregnancy,'" the judge said.
  • "In other words, on the issue of abortion, the Florida Supreme Court has decided that women have a privacy right under the state constitution to not have that right impacted up to 24 weeks at least."
  • "Further, the Florida Supreme Court has found 'if a legislative act imposes a significant restriction on a woman's right to seek an abortion, the act must further a compelling state interest through the least intrusive means. ... Here, the act effectively bans with extremely limited exceptions pre-viable abortions previously permitted under Florida law," he added.
  • Overall, the state's argument to enforce the law was not "legally sufficient to justify the statutory ban," Cooper said, calling the providers' witnesses "more credible" than those brought by the state.

What we're watching: The abortion providers who sued to challenge the ban plan to file a motion to reinstate the temporary restraining order.

Go deeper: Nearly all abortions are illegal in 9 states but more bans are coming

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details.

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