Florida’s 15-week abortion ban remains in effect after the First District Court of Appeal reversed a temporary injunction yesterday that would have blocked the new pro-life law.
Planned Parenthood and others previously requested that Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper block the 15-week ban, known as HB 5, (which includes exceptions but not in cases of rape, incest or human trafficking) from taking effect, arguing the state constitution guarantees access to abortion. Judge Cooper ruled that the ban violates privacy protections in the state constitution. But that ruling was put on hold as soon as it was appealed.
However, yesterday’s one-paragraph order written by Judge Brad Thomas and joined by Judge Stephanie Ray states, “On July 21, 2022, the Court ‘direct[ed] the parties within fifteen days to provide any further briefing or arguments for our consideration, before the court disposes of the appeal of the nonfinal order granting the temporary injunction.’ State v. Planned Parenthood of Sw. & Cent. Fla…. The parties have failed to provide further briefing or argument. Accordingly, the non-final order granting the temporary injunction is reversed as Appellees could not assert irreparable harm on behalf of persons not appearing below.”
The Court also signaled last month that it would reject the temporary injunction issued by Judge Cooper. The appeals court’s July 21 decision kept the stay in place, while also making clear that the panel likely would reject the underlying temporary injunction. A key issue has been whether the plaintiffs could show “irreparable harm” from the near-total ban on abortions after 15 weeks.
In last month’s decision, Thomas wrote that “a temporary injunction cannot be issued absent a showing of irreparable harm. As to appellees (the abortion clinics and doctor) themselves, any loss of income from the operation of the law cannot provide a basis for a finding of irreparable harm as a matter of law. And the parties do not dispute that the operation of the law will not affect the majority of provided abortions.”