TALLAHASSEE — On Friday, the Florida state Supreme Court heard arguments in a legal challenge seeking to throw out the state's 15-week abortion ban. The case will also impact whether or not a much narrower 6-week ban that was later signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis is triggered.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and other abortion providers against the state of Florida.
Last July, a lower court ruled that the 15-week ban violated the state's constitution, and it was temporarily suspended. However, the law went back into effect later that very same day after the state filed an appeal. That ruling held that the Florida Constitution grants explicit protections for the right to privacy that do not exist in the U.S. Constitution and that the Florida Supreme Court has established that this grants protections for a woman's right to the medical procedure.
The plaintiffs have requested that the high court weigh in on whether the 15-week ban could be temporarily blocked while litigation continues. Justices have not indicated a timeline for a decision on whether it will block the ban during litigation, or it will allow it to continue during that time.
Florida's 15-week law grants exceptions for abortions if the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother's life and if the fetus has a fatal anomaly. It does not include an exception, however, for rape or incest.
After the lawsuit was filed challenging the 15-week ban, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban earlier this year. If the court upholds the 15-week abortion ban, a six-week trigger law will go into effect in Florida 30 days after the ruling, prohibiting abortion care before most women know they are pregnant.
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