TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court on Friday said it will hear arguments Sept. 8 in a case that could play a major role in the future of abortion rights in the state.
The court issued an order scheduling a hearing in a challenge to a 2022 law that prevented abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The outcome of the case also will affect a law passed this year that would bar abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — and could determine whether a privacy clause in the Florida Constitution will protect abortion rights.
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office is asking the Supreme Court to back away from more than three decades of legal precedents that have said the privacy clause applies to abortion rights. Moody’s office said in a March 29 brief that past rulings were “clearly erroneous” and that decisions about abortion restrictions should be left to the Legislature.
But attorneys for abortion clinics and a doctor challenging the 15-week limit, known as HB 5, argued in an April 28 brief that the Supreme Court should maintain the longstanding interpretation of the privacy clause.
“Unable to justify HB 5’s extreme ban under existing law, the state instead asks this court to abandon precedent and overrule a fundamental constitutional right that generations of Floridians have relied on,” the plaintiffs’ brief said. “This radical request — which is unsupported by plain language, history, or law — would defy the will of the people and threaten to upend this court’s privacy jurisprudence well beyond abortion.”
Seven abortion clinics and physician Shelly Hsiao-Ying Tien filed the lawsuit in June 2022 challenging the constitutionality of the 15-week abortion law.