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Tipsheet

Florida’s 15-Week Abortion Ban Reinstated Despite Judge’s Order

AP Photo/John Raoux

A Florida judge has temporarily blocked a state law that prohibits most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. But, the block itself is not in effect as the state appeals the ruling.

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This comes after the United States Supreme Court overturned landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. Roe legalized abortion in all 50 states in 1973. In the majority opinion for the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the justices wrote that the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right to abortion. 

Fox News noted that Florida Judge John Cooper stated that SCOTUS’ ruling in the Dobbs case does not apply to the Florida’s 15-week abortion law because the state constitution includes a right to privacy that is “broader” than the U.S. Constitution.

In a lengthy ruling issued Tuesday, Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper stated that the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization – which overturned Roe v. Wade – has no bearing on this case. That is because while Roe was based on the idea of a right to privacy that is not explicitly in the Constitution, the Florida state constitution specifically does include a right to privacy.

 "The right to privacy under the Florida Constitution is ‘much broader in scope’ than any privacy right under the United States Constitution," Cooper wrote, citing a past Florida case in which a concurring opinion observed that Florida's abortion rights would not be impacted by Roe's overruling.

Cooper cited other past cases, including a 2003 Florida Supreme Court case that said it would be wrong to compare federal and Florida privacy rights "in light of the fact that there is no express federal right of privacy clause."

As a result of the state right being expressly written into the state constitution, Cooper said there is a higher level of scrutiny, and that "any law that implicates the fundamental right of privacy is … presumed to be unconstitutional."

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Cooper’s ruling granted an injunction on the 15-week abortion law. Shortly after, the injunction was halted after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, appealed, which triggered a stay.

This week, a judge in Mississippi will consider a legal challenge to the state’s “trigger” abortion law. The lawsuit was filed by Mississippi’s last standing abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which was at the center of the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe

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