Florida’s 15-week abortion ban still in effect pending appeal, judge rules

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — A trial court judge has ruled Florida’s ban on nearly all abortions after 15 weeks can remain in effect pending appeal.

Judge John Cooper, the same judge who ruled last week that the new law is unconstitutional under the explicit right to privacy in Florida’s constitution, ruled against the same plaintiffs in their request to put the law on hold while the case moves through appeals.

By law, Cooper’s decision was automatically stayed when the state appealed his decision. Plaintiffs, who include Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida (PPSWCF), filed a motion to have that stay vacated, which would have put the new law on hold.

Citing prior cases in which the First District Court of Appeals quashed rulings that vacated an automatic stay, Cooper wrote that he was bound by that appeals court’s “very high burden.”

“Even though this Court believes the Plaintiffs have met these requirements [to vacate the stay], it declines to grant their motion because of the direction of the First District that ‘a trial court may vacate an automatic stay during the pendency of an appeal…only…’under the most compelling circumstances,’ and due to a series of decisions of that Court which reversed trial court orders granting motions to vacate the stay,” Cooper wrote.

A spokesperson for PPSWCF said it plans to file a motion to vacate the stay directly with the First District Court of Appeals. If the First DCA rules against that motion, the new law will likely stay in effect throughout the duration of the appeals process.

Most legal experts in Florida expect this case to be decided by the Florida Supreme Court given the conflict between the new law, the constitutional right to privacy, and prior case precedent. No Florida Supreme Court justice has ever held that the state constitution did not protect the right to an abortion within the right to privacy. However, the Court has shifted to the right ideologically in recent years, with several justices appointed by current Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Disclaimer: This article may require a subscription.

Leave a Comment