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Florida Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to ban on abortions after the 15th week but rejects plaintiffs request for a stay of a ruling that keeps law in place

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Editor’s Note: Today is a federal holiday, designated as President’s Day. We are pleased to present a selection of historical articles that have been identified by our readers as particularly appealing. We will resume our regular programming on Tuesday with the latest pro-life updates.

On Monday, the Florida Supreme Court granted permission to proceed with a legal challenge to Florida’s 15-week abortion ban. However, in a 4-1 decision, the justices rejected a motion by seven abortion clinics and an abortionist for a stay of a ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal that kept the “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act” (House Bill 5) in place.

At a minimum, the decision will maintain the status quo until the Supreme Court can rule on the underlying issues in the case. This is according to Jim Sanders, who wrote that the decision would have no immediate effect. The decision, along with a similar 4-1 ruling on another issue involving a stay, was handed down approximately five months after the 1st District Court of Appeal overturned a temporary injunction issued by Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper. Cooper had ruled that the 15-week limit violated the privacy clause in the Constitution.

The appellate court determined that the plaintiffs were unable to demonstrate the existence of irreparable harm resulting from the 15-week limitation period. The court declined to lift the automatic stay and subsequently rejected Cooper’s temporary injunction.

On 14 April, Governor Ron DeSantis enacted HB 5 into law, stating that it represented the state’s values and that every life is of equal importance. Furthermore, Governor DeSantis stated that

“Life is a sacred gift that deserves our protection, and I am proud to sign this great piece of legislation, which represents the most significant pro-life protections in the state’s modern history.”

At 15 weeks, the fetus has a beating heart. The fetuses are capable of movement. Furthermore, they can taste. DeSantis proceeded to make a further observation. The purpose of our gathering today is to advocate for the protection of life. We are here today to advocate on behalf of those who are unable to advocate for themselves.

In their motion for a stay filed on 31 August, the plaintiffs argued that the 1st District Court of Appeal had not adhered to established precedents. The attorneys representing the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the national law firm of Jenner & Block asserted that the decision to carry a pregnancy to term or to obtain a pre-viability abortion is a right that this Court has repeatedly recognized as encompassed by the Florida Constitution’s right of privacy.

In a counter-argument, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, in September, not only urged the state Supreme Court to reject the motion for a stay, but also asserted that the privacy clause does not apply to abortion. According to reporter Saunders,

“Florida’s privacy clause creates a right ‘to be left alone and free from governmental intrusion into one’s private life,'” lawyers in Moody’s office wrote in a filing. “This language is naturally read to limit government snooping and information gathering – but not to create a freedom to destroy unborn (or any other) life.”

The Supreme Court’s one-paragraph ruling was issued on the day marking the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the appearance of pro-abortion Vice President Kamala Harris in Tallahassee.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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