Florida health care providers filed a lawsuit on June 1, 2022 bringing a state constitutional challenge to House Bill (HB) 5, a ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy that threatens to put doctors in jail for providing essential care beyond that point. Abortion providers in the case are asking the court to block the ban from taking effect on July 1.
Two-thirds of Floridians support the right to abortion and voters have consistently cast their ballot to ensure that the state constitution provides independent protection for the right to abortion. HB 5 is blatantly unconstitutional under the state constitution. In 1980, Florida voters amended the state constitution to provide broad protections for individual privacy rights — including abortion. And in 2012, voters overwhelmingly rejected Amendment 6 that would have taken those protections away. These protections remain in place independent of federal abortion rights.
Florida’s 15-week ban would have devastating effects on abortion access in the state and surrounding region. Floridians already face burdensome restrictions to getting an abortion — such as a ban on insurance plans on the state exchange covering abortion; a parental consent requirement that makes it harder for young people to get abortions; and a law that requires people to make an additional, unnecessary trip to an abortion provider before receiving care, which took effect in April 2022. There are also many other barriers to access for people who need abortion care, including: delays in finding out they’re pregnant; difficulty affording essential health care; and a lack of nearby providers.
HB 5 will force Floridians to remain pregnant against their will, violating their dignity and bodily autonomy, and endangering their families, their health, and even their lives. The impacts of pushing reproductive health care out of reach in the middle of a maternal mortality crisis will fall hardest on Black women, who are nearly three times more likely than white women to die during childbirth, or shortly after.
The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the law firm Jenner & Block filed this lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida; Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida; Gainesville Woman Care; Indian Rocks Woman’s Center; St. Petersburg Woman’s Health Center; Tampa Woman’s Health Center; and A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville.