Florida health care providers challenge state’s 15-week abortion ban

A group of Florida health care providers filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the state’s 15-week abortion law, which will go into effect next month.

The legislation, signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in April, will go into effect on July 1.

The law will ban the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy and doesn’t include exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking. However, the law does stipulate several exceptions, including cases in which a fatal abnormality is found on a fetus or an abortion is needed to save the life or prevent serious injury to the pregnant person.

The lawsuit alleges that the bill — HB 5 — “radically curtails the ability of Floridians to make decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy and have a child,” which the petitioners say is in violation of their rights under the Florida Constitution.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Florida, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm Jenner & Block said they filed this lawsuit on behalf of a number of health care providers.

The plaintiffs added that without 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.”

The filing also highlights the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in the 1980s that guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion.

The lawsuit added that the law will force people to remain pregnant and give birth “against their will.” In effect, these people will see “increased risks” to their health and their lives.

It added that the new law “threatens the stability and security of their existing families and children, and denies them the autonomy and dignity to direct the course of their own lives.”

In a press release, the Center for Reproductive Rights said that Florida’s 15-week ban would have “devastating” effects on abortion access not just in the state but the surrounding region as well.

“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,” it added.

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