After a judge in Florida temporarily halted a state law banning abortions beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy, a state appeal restored the ban on Tuesday.
Judge John C Cooper of an appellate court in Florida’s capital of Tallahassee ruled that the ban in question – enshrined in a bill that Republican lawmakers approved in April – violates privacy protections in the state constitution.
Cooper’s decision temporarily halted the ban, though it had no effect on a ban prohibiting abortions beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy. But the state’s appeal automatically ensured a stay on the temporary blocking of the more restrictive measure, meaning that ban still applies as the case continues playing out.
“The Florida constitution does not include – and has never included – a right to kill an innocent unborn child,” said a spokesperson for Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, last week.
The move is the latest in a series of conflicting state court rulings after the federal supreme court’s recent decision to overturn its landmark Roe v Wade ruling, which since 1973 had granted nationwide abortion rights. Abortion is now banned in at least eight states, with more bans expected to follow in the coming weeks.
Other states are expected to follow procedures similar to those in Florida. In late June, a Kentucky judge temporarily halted an abortion ban that was triggered by the US supreme court’s decision. Kentucky’s law sought a near total ban on abortion.
In southern states that had passed abortion bans in anticipation of Roe’s reversal, abortion rights advocates sued to at least delay bans on terminating pregnancies after the US supreme court ruling.
There were more than 79,000 abortions in Florida during the past year, according to data from the state’s healthcare agency. About 94% of those cases happened in the first trimester, which lasts through the 11th week of pregnancy.
“Florida politicians have turned their backs on women and people who can become pregnant, forcing us into a second-class status by denying us the right to make decisions about our bodies, our healthcare, and our futures,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
Florida’s Republican leaders are expected to pursue further abortion restrictions. The Republican representative Anthony Sabatini said in late June that he was pushing for a special session for the legislature to pass a more stringent abortion law.
“We must pass the heartbeat bill & other strong … measures to protect Florida’s unborn children,” he wrote on Twitter.