TALLAHASSEE — Citing the Supreme Court case that reversed Roe v. Wade, Florida’s attorney general on Wednesday filed a motion to reinstate part of a 2016 law that would have blocked state funds from going to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions.
In 2016, then-Gov. Rick Scott signed House Bill 1411 that in part prohibited state and local dollars from going to any institution that also provided abortions. While state and local money already was prohibited from being used for abortions, some state money did go to services provided by the clinics, like sexually transmitted disease screenings and family planning for low-income individuals.
Federal Judge Robert Hinkle struck down the “defunding” portion of the law, saying it unconstitutionally discouraged clinics from providing abortions.
In her filing seeking to vacate the court’s previous injunction, Attorney General Ashley Moody said the court’s sole reason for blocking the provision was the U.S. Supreme Court’s legal rulings that abortion was a constitutional right. The filing says that with Roe overturned because of a June Supreme Court case, “the legal basis for this Court’s injunction no longer exists.”
Moody argued that the federal judge tossed out the provision because he ruled the state was indirectly prohibiting abortion.
“Dobbs, however, makes clear that there is no constitutional right to abortion and that Supreme Court cases holding otherwise were ‘egregiously wrong from the start,’” Moody’s filing said.
In fiscal year 2014-2015, the Department of Health spent about $139,000 on non-abortion services with Planned Parenthood, and projected spending about $163,000 in 2015-2016, according to a 2016 bill analysis.
It’s not clear how much Planned Parenthood and other organizations that also provide abortions receive in state and local taxpayer dollars.
When asked, the Florida Department of Health said that it has “no affiliation with Planned Parenthood.” Communications director Nikki Whiting added that the department does work with partners and through county health departments to provide women’s health services, like pelvic exams, pregnancy support, newborn screenings and more.
Stephanie Fraim, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said in a statement that “the state is jeopardizing Floridians’ health” by blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving funding. She said her organization would work to continue to provide affordable care.
“This is just the latest attack on the health of the communities that rely on our providers, especially Black and Latino people, young people, and people who are LGBTQ+,” Fraim said. “It is unconscionable that those in power are further restricting Floridians’ ability to lead healthy and fulfilled lives.”
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Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, worked for Planned Parenthood when the bill was passed back in 2016.
She said the cancer and disease screenings Planned Parenthood provides create a healthier community and actually reduce the rate of abortion. She said it was “incredibly gross” to see the DeSantis administration try to remove funding to clinics when Florida is suffering from high rates of people infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.