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REPEALING UNCONSTITUTIONAL ABORTION RESTRICTIONS IN FLORIDA

SB 628 / HB 6023

By Senator Lauren Book and Representative Anna V Eskamani

Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida v. Celeste Philip (2016) that Florida House Bill 1411 (signed by Gov. Rick Scott) was unconstitutionally defunding abortion clinics and unconstitutionally violating patient privacy by allowing the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) to inspect more than 50% of patient records.

SB 682 would ensure that the language in Florida statutes are constitutional and adhere to the ruling.

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Provision (1) of HB 1411 is unconstitutional and must be removed from current Florida statutes because it violates the State’s equal protection guarantee.

To only allow public funds to be dispersed to an abortion provider that (a) only performs abortions for cases of rape or incest only (b) only performs abortions that are medically necessary and to preserve the life of the pregnant woman is objectively discriminatory and singles out reproductive healthcare providers, namely Planned Parenthood.

Provision (2) of HB 1411 is unconstitutional and must be removed from Florida statutes because it violates the State’s equal protection and privacy guarantees.

To allow the agency to inspect at least 50 percent of patient records is indicative of an extreme violation of patient’s privacy. This language also serves to alienate recipients and providers of abortion services; a regular audit of medical records only requires 10 percent of patient records to be divulged for review.

SB 682 is a step in the right direction to eradicate the stigma surrounding abortion and reproductive health care in Florida statutes.

Current Florida statutes contain language that has been decided by a federal judge to be unconstitutional and a violation of Florida’s equal protection and privacy guarantee.

The Florida Legislature would be remiss to fail to bring current Florida statute up to speed with the constitutional guidelines given in Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida v. Celeste Philip (2016).