Florida Supreme Court hears oral arguments on 15-week preborn protections

abortion, Baby Olivia, Florida, 15 weeks, 15 week abortion

Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood on the state’s law protecting preborn children from abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Now, eight months later, oral arguments in the case are underway.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 5, or the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality bill, in April of 2022. Originally due to take effect in July, the law has been the subject of constant court battles, including an injunction placed on the law, which was eventually thrown out in August of 2022. After the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, a coalition of seven clergy members sought to have the law blocked again, but a judge refused.

The Supreme Court decision could have further-reaching repercussions than just the 15-week law; a law protecting preborn children from abortion after six weeks gestation was also signed into law earlier this year. If the Supreme Court upholds the 15-week law, the six-week law will be allowed to take effect as well.

Planned Parenthood, along with the ACLU, argued that the 15-week law violates the ‘right to privacy’, which is protected in Article I, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution. If the Supreme Court finds that the law does not violate the right to privacy, then the six-week law will be allowed to take effect 30 days after the decision, protecting the majority of preborn children from abortion in the state of Florida.

Liberty Counsel has filed several amicus briefs; the first is in defense of the 15-week law, while the second seeks to have the decision in In re T.W. overturned. That decision, made in 1989, found that minors have a “right” to abortion in the state constitution; Liberty Counsel’s brief asked the Supreme Court to restore the original intent of Article I, Section 23 to not include the right to an abortion.

“Tragically, after the Roe and Casey abortion decisions were overturned, Florida has become a sanctuary for abortion,” Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver said in an e-mailed press release. “Now the Florida Supreme Court must establish this as a state that values unborn life according to the state Constitution.”

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