The Leon County Court in Florida has indicated it intends to block a law banning abortions after 15 weeks. Planned Parenthood’s case against the state was heard before Judge John C. Cooper earlier this week. The judge indicated he’d issue a ruling on Thursday and, true to his word, he made his decision. Cooper called HB 5 “unconstitutional,” saying it violates the “fundamental right to privacy,” which is laid out in Florida’s constitution. Per Section 23 of that document: “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life except as otherwise provided herein. This section shall not be construed to limit the public’s right of access to public records and meetings as provided by law.”
Cooper said the state failed to prove why HB 5 should take effect in the first place and is ready to sign an injunction against it. In the meantime, the law is expected to temporarily take effect. Planned Parenthood said it is seeking to make sure any stays sought by the state don’t go through. For now, this is great news for the organization, which called it “only a first step in fighting this dangerous abortion ban … We are grateful this court recognized that it is an unconstitutional intrusion on our patients’ and providers’ medical decisions,” Stephanie Fraim, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said in a statement. “Once this ban is blocked, Florida abortion providers will be able to offer patients who decide to have an abortion the care they need here at home. Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida will continue to stand with all abortion providers and the patients who turn to them.”
Under Florida’s current law, abortions are legal up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Another case against the law brought forth by a Jewish synagogue has yet to be heard. Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor in its lawsuit claims that the state has violated its religious freedom by restricting abortion access. According to Rabbi Barry Silver, who leads the synagogue, he believes a birthing person has the right to an abortion no matter their reason. Other religious groups are expected to file similar lawsuits around the country in protest of abortion bans and near-bans going into effect in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade.