Judge upholds Florida ban on state funding of Planned Parenthood, cites Dobbs decision overturning Roe

By Dave Andrusko

It took nearly seven years, but U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle reinstated Florida’s House Bill 1411 which blocked state funds from going to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions. Planned Parenthood said in its 2016 challenge to HB1411 that it stood to lose $500,000 a year.

In its motion to dismiss the permanent injunction, Attorney General Ashley Moody had said

The Dobbs ruling “makes clear that there is no constitutional right to abortion and that Supreme Court cases holding otherwise were ‘egregiously wrong from the start,’” her office wrote in its motion. “The State may thus constitutionally prohibit abortion within its borders.” …

Indeed, in a recent Eleventh Circuit decision applying Dobbs, the plaintiffs—one of which is an affiliate of the Plaintiffs here— “concede[d] that Dobbs dooms” even a challenge to Georgia’s “prohibition of abortions after detectable fetal heartbeat.”

Last month, Moody wrote

Now that the case at the center of the [district] court’s reasoning has been overturned, we are petitioning the court to vacate the court’s injunction and allow the will of our state’s legislative body and the people who elected them to take effect.

Then, on March 7, Judge Hinkle captured the nub of the case in two sentences of a three page decision: “An essential basis” of the ruling was

the right to an abortion under Roe v. Wade. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

In a tweet [@AGAshleyMoody] Attorney General Ashley Moody said

Proud to secure a victory in our case about whether Floridians should be forced to fund Planned Parenthood. The court reinstated what the legislature passed in 2016—a ban on state funds supporting clinics that provide abortions.

Helen Aguirre Ferré, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, tweeted

So important! Glad to hear Florida tax dollars aren’t going to fund abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood.

In a February statement, “The Office of Governor Ron DeSantis is fully behind this action from the Attorney General and we support this move to fully defund Planned Parenthood from any taxpayer support.”