Florida Judge Blocks Parts of New Abortion Law

U.S District Judge Robert Hinkle issued new legislations to block public funding to Planned Parenthood and to increase the inspection requirements of abortion clinics, just hours before the new Florida abortion law was to take effect.

This is just another step in the lengthy ongoing battle for women’s rights in the southeast. The Florida government is mainly dominated by the GOP, and has been for the past two decades. Because of this, legislators have enacted a series of bills to defend a woman’s right to choose, only to see of them overturned in the courts.

Hinkle states of his ruling, “the provision is based not on any objection to how the funds are being spent … but solely because the recipients of the funds choose to provide abortions separate and apart from any public funding.

Secondly, Hinkle blocked the enforcement of another part of the new abortion law that would require an annual state inspection of the medical records of all clinic patients. To give an estimation, Planned Parenthood sees about 35,000 patients a year, according to the Associated Press. However, Hinkle leaved a provision intact that “redefines dates of gestation and pregnancy trimesters, which could affect when abortions can be performed.” While Hinkle states that this would not have any impacts on medical services, Planned Parenthood states that this was another attempt to limit abortions by the republican-dominated Florida government.

Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a law that prevents any state or local funds going to an organization if that organization also provides an abortion. Planned Parenthood fought back, saying this would prevent healthcare screenings and impede their school dropout prevention program.

Hinkle wrote, “The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that a government cannot prohibit indirectly — by withholding otherwise-available public funds — conduct that the government could not constitutionally prohibit directly.”

Planned Parenthood is pretty happy with this ruling, according to the Associated Press. CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Southwest and Central Florida Barbara Zdravecky says, “With today’s ruling Planned Parenthood is more committed than ever to both serving our patients and fighting back against politicians who are bent on attacking access to women’s health.”

This law in Florida, like abortion laws in Texas, states that doctors who perform abortions have to have privileges at a nearby hospital. Legislators who passed the law earlier this year said they were doing so in order to protect women’s health.

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