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Florida court hears arguments challenging state's 15-week abortion ban

ACLU, several women's health clinics seek temporary injunction
15-week abortion ban hearing seeking temporary injunction held June 24, 2022
Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 17:23:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A challenge to Florida's 15-week abortion ban was discussed in state circuit court Monday.

A judge is considering whether to put the new law on hold before it takes effect Friday.

Plaintiffs include the American Civil Liberties Union and several women's health clinics in Florida.

They're seeking a temporary injunction — putting the 15-week ban on pause until their broader legal challenge is resolved.

The plaintiffs are arguing the new law — which provides exceptions only for fatal fetal abnormalities — violates the state constitution under its broad privacy protections against government intrusion.

Dr. Shelly Tien, OBGYN, speaks at hearing seeking temporary injunction to Florida's 15-week abortion ban, June 27, 2022
Dr. Shelly Tien speaks at a June 27, 2022, hearing a seeking temporary injunction to Florida's 15-week abortion ban.

They allege women — especially those from low-income or minority families — will suffer under its provisions.

Attorneys on Monday brought in Florida OBGYNs to help make their case.

"There are thousands of women and girls in the entire state of Florida that can develop complications after 15 weeks," Dr. Shelly Tien, OBGYN, said. "This law would impact them too."

Attorneys for the state allege none of the women's health clinics bringing the suit are asserting their right to privacy and don't have legal standing to sue.

Their witnesses included neurobiologist Dr. Maureen Condic who defended the concept of life at conception.

"The conclusion that life begins at the instant of sperm-egg fusion is scientifically incontrovertible," Condic said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the 'Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality' bill into law in Kissimmee on April 14, 2022.jpg
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the 'Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality' bill into law in Kissimmee on April 14, 2022.

Judge John Cooper said he wants to offer a decision as soon as the closing arguments conclude.

That could come later Monday but is more likely to happen Thursday due to timing limits.

Florida currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks.

Back in February, the Florida Legislature passed the controversial HB 5, officially called the "Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality" bill.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law on April 14.

This is only the first of two legal challenges facing HB 5 in state court.

The second was brought by a Jewish congregation, arguing their religious freedom is at stake.