Supreme Court ruling may impact Florida abortion laws

Dr. Garth Rose

Supreme Court ruling may impact Florida abortion laws
<> on May 7, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

Supreme Court ruling may impact Florida abortion laws

The recent majority Supreme Court ruling banning a Texas law requiring hospital privileges for abortion doctors and clinics, could impact a Florida abortion law, scheduled to take effect on July 1.

The Florida law plans to remove state funding for health services to clinics who provide abortion, as well as enforce other requirements (including hospital privileges) specified in the Texas law. This has led some reproductive advocates to hope the ruling would also overthrow the Florida law. But Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and stern opponent of state anti-abortion laws passed in recent years, urged caution while the Supreme Court ruling is analyzed.

However, “if there are incidents where Florida abortion clinics are forced to close because hospitals refuse to permit admitting privileges of patients who had abortions, that action would be difficult to defend under the Supreme Court’s ruling,” noted Simon.

Governor Rick Scott said in a news conference that he is currently reviewing the Court’s ruling, to determine any impact on the Florida law. The state’s Agency of Healthcare Administration, the agency responsible for implanting the new state law, is also reviewing the Court’s ruling.

Many medical providers however have objected to the stringent requirements imposed on clinics by the law.

“Frankly, it shouldn’t be necessary for the Florida law to require abortion doctors or clinics have an admitting agreement to admit abortion patients,” says Dr. Clara Manigall, a practitioner at a North Miami woman’s clinic. “Medical complications in abortions are very rare, but should there be the need for patients to be admitted to a hospital the Supreme Court ruling now makes turning away those patients unconstitutional.”

The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, has filed lawsuits against some of the provisions of the recent Florida abortion law, particularly pertaining to the hospital admitting privileges. Laura Goodhue, executive director of the organization, said while the Texas and Florida laws have “different languages” when examined closely, “they have the same intent.” She said Planned Parenthood would now consider if they should include this provision of the law in its lawsuit based on the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Miami healthcare attorney Ashley Braxton agrees that the Supreme Court ruling “in the wake of other significant ruling of the Court since the famous Rowe vs Wade ruling in 1973 indicates there are strong constitutional rights for women to govern treatment to their person.”

States, including Florida “need to be more circumspect of the nation’s constitution and the constitutional rights of women before passing frivolous abortion laws, mostly to serve political motives,” says Braxton. “Now, there could be several new lawsuits against existing Florida abortion laws.”

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