Friday, August 19, 2016

Federal judge blocks Florida abortion law

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 10:25 AM

A federal judge struck down a Florida law that would have banned abortion providers liked Planned Parenthood from receiving about $500,000 a year in taxpayer money for non-abortion services like STI exams and cancer screenings. 

The sweeping abortion law, known previously as House Bill 1411, was supposed to go into effect July 1, but was previously placed on a temporary hold by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle. The Associated Press reports that earlier this month, Gov. Rick Scott's administration signed a joint motion with Planned Parenthood and other plaintiffs agreeing to end the litigation process. 

"This is a victory for thousands of Floridians who rely on Planned Parenthood," says Barbara Zdravecky, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, in a statement. "For many people, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can turn to. We may be the only place they can go in their community, or the only place that offers the screening or birth control method they need. No one should have their basic health care taken away."

The AP reports the Scott administration could still appeal the ruling, but it hasn't given any indication that it will do so. Back when he temporarily blocked the law, Hinkle wrote that the provision was "based not on any objection to how the funds are being spent...but solely because the recipients of the funds choose to provide abortions separate and apart from any public funding. The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that a government cannot prohibit indirectly — by withholding otherwise-available public funds — conduct that the government could not constitutionally prohibit directly." 

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