Judge Cooper temporarily suspended Florida's abortion laws but the state appealed
Judge John C. Cooper in Florida temporarily suspended the state's new abortion laws, which make abortions extending beyond 15 weeks illegal. Reproductive health care groups argued that the state constitution protects their right to the practice. However, the court's order was quickly reinstated after a state appeal challenged the decision and is back in effect.
Why Judge Cooper halted the ban
Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, state legislatures around the country have been rapidly revising their abortion laws.
Cooper stated in his ruling that the law was "facially unconstitutional."
According to him, the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling terminating 50 years of federal abortion rights does not change his written order. Since the scope of the right to privacy in the Florida Constitution exceeds that of any private right in the United States Constitution, his ruling shouldn't be affected.
According to a reproductive rights expert, the judge's decision was justified since state law allows for a privacy provision that the federal constitution does not. The right to privacy is explicitly stated in the Florida Constitution but is not in the U.S. Constitution.
About Florida abortion laws and the state's argument
The state argued that HB5 would not affect most women seeking abortions or cause a major limitation since most abortions are done within 15 weeks. Abortions in Florida are illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother's life is in danger, the fetus has a fatal defect, or the mother's health would be threatened if she did not have the procedure. Pregnancies caused by rape, incest, or human trafficking are not exempt from the law.
The Florida Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that a woman's right to privacy during an abortion is not affected by any state or federal restrictions on abortion. When higher courts make a ruling, lower courts must comply.
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