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Florida Planned Parenthood lauds Supreme Court on abortion ruling

Planned Parenthood of Florida called Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion “a landmark decision.”

The decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt “sends a strong message that laws that restrict access to abortion under the guise of protecting women are unconstitutional,” said Lillian Tamayo, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida.

“Here in Florida, women’s access to care is still very much under threat,” she added in a statement.

The decision struck down a Texas law similar to a Florida law passed this year. They both require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and require clinics where abortions are performed to be regulated like outpatient surgical centers.

Planned Parenthood, which offers reproductive health care around the country, filed earlier this month in federal court in Tallahassee to prevent the Florida law’s enforcement. It goes into effect Friday; a hearing in the matter is set for Wednesday.

That action, however, focuses on the law’s defunding of the organization, a required annual inspection of its patient files, and a redefinition of gestational periods, according to Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

“Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of these restrictions when they temporarily went into effect in October 2014,” its press release says.

Abortion providers said the rules would have cut the number of abortion clinics in Texas by three-fourths if they had been allowed to take full effect.

When then-Gov. Rick Perry signed the law in 2013, there were about 40 clinics throughout the state. That number dropped to under 20 and would have been cut in half again if the law had taken full effect, the clinics said.

“Our Texas health centers were inundated with calls from frightened and upset patients, and women were lined up outside our doors in the morning, waiting to see if they can still access the care they need,” the Planned Parenthood release added.

“We can’t let lawmakers ignore today’s ruling,” said Barbara Zdravecky, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “In too many states, access to abortion is still a right in name only for many women.”

In Florida, nearly four-fifths of Planned Parenthood health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas, according to the organization.

“We have always maintained and medical experts agree that special hospital admitting privileges are medically unnecessary for abortion providers as it is a safe and legal procedure,” the press release said. “Often, admitting privileges are difficult to obtain and may make abortion even more difficult to obtain, causing harm to women.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report, reprinted with permission. 

 

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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