June 27, 2016
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, has overturned a Texas law that aims to protect the health and safety of women who undergo abortion.
Today’s decision in
Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt
struck down requirements for abortion providers in Texas on grounds that are treated distinctly in Florida law.
The Texas law required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Some abortion facilities in Texas did not meet the distance requirement and subsequently closed.
Florida makes a similar requirement that facilities be within 30 minutes by emergency transport vehicle. All existing abortion facilities in Florida meet this requirement. Therefore, the proximity requirement in HB 1411, signed into law earlier this year, will not close a single facility. For many years, medical directors in Florida abortion facilities have been required to have admitting privileges at hospitals or transfer agreements, which was not an option provided in Texas.
“The court’s decision failed to uphold a higher standard of care for women terminating a pregnancy,” said Ingrid Delgado, FCCB associate for respect life/social concerns. “While the ruling is deeply disappointing, it must be noted that Florida’s law, while similar, is distinct in key ways.”
While several provisions of HB 1411 are being challenged in federal court, it is significant to observe that Florida’s admitting privileges requirement is not contested in the suit. Those being challenged pertain to public funding of abortion providers, definitions of trimesters and records review threshold.
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The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is an agency of the Catholic Bishops of Florida. It speaks for the Church in matters of public policy and serves as liaison to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. The archbishop and bishops of the seven (arch)dioceses in Florida constitute its board of directors.