Analysis: Florida Supreme Court will have 3 options to consider with Florida’s abortion ban

Judge temporarily blocks Florida’s 15-week abortion ban

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we discuss with Rick Mullaney, News4JAX Political Analyst, the legal ramifications of a Florida judge blocking the new state abortion law.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida judge temporarily blocked the state’s recently passed abortion bill from becoming law.

The new law is in effect for now because the judge’s order won’t have an impact until he puts the ruling in writing.

House Bill 5, which went into effect Friday, bans nearly all procedures after 15 weeks of pregnancy in Florida. The bill is opposed by reproductive rights organizations, like Planned Parenthood of America and the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the state to block the bill.

Judge John C. Cooper issued a verbal ruling in Leon County Circuit Court putting a temporary hold on the state’s new abortion measure. Until he puts it in writing next week the 15-week abortion law will remain in place.

New4JAX Political Analyst Rick Mullaney said that when the judge enters his order, the state’s limit will go back to 24 weeks.

“However, when Gov. DeSantis takes the appeal, that order could be lifted, in which case it will go back to 15 weeks -- a little bit confusing, but in the end, this is heading to the Supreme Court and that’s where it will be decided,” Mullaney said.

Cooper ruled the law is unconstitutional because it violates the privacy provision of the state’s constitution, and “does not meet the standard” of the Florida Supreme Court rulings that protect abortion rights in the state.”

“That certainly is the ruling of Judge Cooper and there’s good reason for that. Because the right to privacy is explicit in Florida’s constitution adopted in 1980. And there have been four Supreme Court opinions confirming that right to abortion. However, when this is litigated before this Supreme Court, there are three possibilities: one, the Florida Supreme Court declined that the right to privacy in the Florida constitution extends to 24 weeks, and if it does, this statute will be unconstitutional. Second, they could find that the right to privacy includes the right to abortion, but extended to 15 weeks. And by the way that would be consistent with what Justice Roberts was advocating in his concurring opinion,” Mullaney said.

Mullaney said there is a third possibility. The Florida Supreme Court can revisit this entirely, going back and finding that the right to privacy in the Florida Constitution was misconstrued. That is what DeSantis is arguing that the right to an abortion is not contained within a right to privacy.

So in the end, the Florida Supreme Court may have three possibilities to consider.


About the Author:

This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.