Gov. Rick Scott's health care agency is backing down from a legal fight with Planned Parenthood over allegations that three clinics were performing abortions not allowed by their license.
In a letter to Planned Parenthood's lawyers, Agency for Health Care Administration general counsel Stuart Williams writes that the allegedly unlawful abortions at clinics in St. Petersburg, Naples and Fort Myers are actually allowed under state regulations.
AHCA had said that Planned Parenthood was conducting second-trimester abortions at clinics licensed to perform only first-trimester procedures. Under a 2006 rule, the first trimester of a pregnancy is defined as the 12 weeks after fertilization, or the 14 weeks after the pregnant woman's last menstrual period.
In this case, abortions were being performed 13 weeks after the last menstrual period.
In the letter, Williams writes, "AHCA does now, and has at least since 2006 when rule 59A-9.019 was last amended, consider abortions performed during the first 14 weeks from the last normal menstrual period to constitute a first trimester abortion."
Planned Parenthood on Monday sued AHCA, asking a judge to issue an injunction saying the license violations from the state were invalid.