Florida, Kentucky judges ‘temporarily’ block states from enforcing abortion ban

Updated on Jun 30, 2022 11:29 PM IST

State courts in Texas, Louisiana and Utah have also temporarily blocked bans in those states since last week, and abortion providers are seeking similar relief in states including Idaho, Ohio, Mississippi and West Virginia.

Abortion-rights activists demonstrate against the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Capitol Hill in Washington.(AP)
Abortion-rights activists demonstrate against the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on Capitol Hill in Washington.(AP)
Reuters | , Louisville

Judges in Florida and Kentucky on Thursday moved to block those states from enforcing bans or restrictions on abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that had established a nationwide right to it.

In Tallahassee, Florida, Circuit Court Judge John Cooper said he would grant a petition from abortion rights groups to temporarily put on hold a state law that would bar abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

In Kentucky, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mitch Perry issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the state from enforcing a ban passed in 2019 and triggered by the Supreme Court's decision.

Also on Thursday, the Supreme Court threw out lower federal court rulings that had invalidated abortion limits in Arizona, Arkansas and Indiana based on Roe.

With a federal right to abortion no longer guaranteed, abortion rights groups and clinics have rushed to state courts seeking to slow or halt Republican-backed restrictions on the ability of women to terminate pregnancies that are now taking effect or are poised to do so in 22 states.

State courts in Texas, Louisiana and Utah have also temporarily blocked bans in those states since last week, and abortion providers are seeking similar relief in states including Idaho, Ohio, Mississippi and West Virginia.

Florida's 15-week ban, which was signed into law by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in April, was set to take effect on Friday. The law mirrors the Mississippi law at the heart of the U.S. Supreme Court case that reversed Roe.

"I do find the state has failed to provide convincing and credible evidence that this law, HB 5, exhibits a compelling state interest to be protected," Judge Cooper said on Thursday..

Several groups, including Planned Parenthood affiliates and Florida abortion clinics, had filed a lawsuit arguing that the state constitution protects women's right to an abortion for up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Cooper said he agreed the statute violates the state constitution's guarantee of a right to privacy, noting that the state Supreme Court has previously ruled the state right is broader than the federal equivalent and includes the right to abortion.

The judge said his decision would only take effect after he signs a written order, which would not be issued on Thursday.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, had no immediate comment. An appeal is likely, though, and the case could eventually reach the state's high court, whose composition has changed and now includes all Republican-appointed justices.

Kentucky is one of 13 states that enacted so-called "trigger" laws designed to take effect if Roe v. Wade was overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy research group.

The Kentucky ban has limited medical exceptions permitting abortion only to prevent the death of or serious, permanent injury to a woman.

Abortion services had halted in the state since Friday, when the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states to enact new bans.

Two abortion clinics, including a Planned Parenthood affiliate, challenged Kentucky's ban as well as another that bars abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before some women know they are pregnant.

The decision is temporary, though, and a further hearing is scheduled on Wednesday on the clinics' request for an injunction to further block enforcement of the laws.

"We're glad the court recognized the devastation happening in Kentucky and decided to block the commonwealth's cruel abortion bans," Planned Parenthood said in a statement.

State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, said in a statement that Judge Perry had no basis under Kentucky's constitution to allow the clinics to resume performing abortions.

"We cannot let the same mistake that happened in Roe v. Wade, nearly 50 years ago, to be made again in Kentucky," he said. "We will be seeking relief from this order."

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Sweden shopping centre shooting: Two injured, one arrested. (Getty Images)

    Sweden shopping centre shooting: Two injured, one arrested

    Swedish police said on Friday two people were injured in a shooting at the Emporia shopping centre in the southern city of Malmo and one suspect has been arrested. Read: Shooting selection policy set for a tweak again The police are on the scene questioning witnesses and going through material from surveillance cameras. Earlier, police said they had cordoned off the area and asked the public to avoid going to the shopping centre.

  • The vaccine - called Jynneos, Imvanex and Imvamune, depending on geography - was designed to be injected into a layer of fat beneath the skin, known as a subcutaneous injection. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    EU backs changing monkeypox vaccine injection method to boost supply

    The recommendation is based on a study involving about 500 adults, which compared the performance of the vaccine given either intradermally or subcutaneously, as two doses given about a month apart.

  • Putin, Macron call for IAEA inspection of Ukraine nuclear plant

    Putin, Macron call for IAEA inspection of Ukraine nuclear plant

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called for independent inspections at the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the Kremlin said Friday. According to the Kremlin, both leaders called for experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the plant "as soon as possible" and "assess the real situation on the ground". Both Kyiv and Moscow have this week accused each other of preparing "provocations" at the facility.

  • File photo of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

    PM Sheikh Hasina to Hindu community in Bangladesh: You and I have same rights

    According to a report in the Dhaka Tribune newspaper, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “We want people of all faiths to live with equal rights. You are people of this country, you have equal rights here, you have the same rights as I have.” “You would always think that you are the citizens of this country and you will enjoy equal rights,” the premier said.

  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen 

    'Indescribable' pressure: Taiwan thanks Navy amid China tensions

    Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has visited sailors in the island's navy to thank them for their efforts amid days of war games and military drills by China, calling the pressure they had faced "indescribable". China, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, has been staging such exercises this month to show its anger at the visit to Taipei of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, August 19, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now