Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody won a victory for life Tuesday when a federal judge said the state may defund the billion-dollar abortion chain Planned Parenthood.
“[I’m] proud to secure a victory in our case about whether Floridians should be forced to fund Planned Parenthood. The court reinstated what the legislature passed in 2016—a ban on state funds supporting clinics that provide abortions,” Moody said in a statement.
The March 7 order from U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ends a permanent injunction that blocked the law for more than six years.
Hinkle said the previous ruling was “essentially” based on Roe v. Wade. Because the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe in June in Dobbs v. Jackson, the judge agreed to reverse the decision and allow the law to go into effect starting June 1.
The 2016 law prohibits state and local taxpayer funding to abortion facilities and their affiliates. It is not clear how many state tax dollars go to abortion facilities every year, but Planned Parenthood estimated in its 2016 lawsuit that it would lose about $500,000 annually, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
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SBA Pro-Life America celebrated Hinkle’s ruling Wednesday as a “victory for the people of Florida” and praised the attorney general for her work to reinstate the law.
“Planned Parenthood will get ZERO taxpayer dollars starting in June,” the pro-life organization wrote on Twitter. “Using taxpayer dollars to end unborn lives is not a way to score popularity points with the American people.”
The news brought joy to state Republican leaders, too. Helen Aguirre Ferré, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, said she was “glad to hear Florida tax dollars aren’t going to fund abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood” anymore.
In February, Moody’s office sought to reinstate the law, telling the federal judge that Dobbs decision changed the situation and Florida should be allowed to decide how to use its own tax dollars.
The Dobbs ruling “makes clear that there is no constitutional right to abortion and that Supreme Court cases holding otherwise were ‘egregiously wrong from the start,’” her office wrote in its motion. “The State may thus constitutionally prohibit abortion within its borders.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a pro-life Republican who is widely being considered as a presidential candidate, supported Moody’s actions in a statement in February.
“The Office of Governor Ron DeSantis is fully behind this action from the Attorney General and we support this move to fully defund Planned Parenthood from any taxpayer support,” DeSantis’s office said.
Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood abortion chain decried Moody’s action last month, calling it an “attack” on health care, WTSP News 10 Tampa Bay reports.
“Thousands of Floridians with low incomes turn to Planned Parenthood health centers for essential preventive care like STI testing and treatment, cancer screening and birth control,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement to the news outlet. “Now, the state is jeopardizing Floridians’ health by blocking Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida from receiving funding for these services.”
However, when the law goes into effect, it will not cut taxpayer funding for healthcare. Instead, it will redirect that money to clinics that offer real medical care and not elective abortions that kill unborn babies.
Many of Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services have been declining rapidly over the past decade, according to its own annual reports. Meanwhile, its abortion numbers have been steadily increasing, and Planned Parenthood reported a record 383,460 abortions in 2020.
In Florida, 74,868 unborn babies were aborted in 2020, according to state health statistics.
Voters elected more pro-life Republicans to office this year, and they are working to protect unborn babies and mothers. DeSantis signed a law to ban abortions after 15 weeks in 2022, and he recently promised to support even stronger protections for babies in the womb. He supports eliminating the sales tax on baby supplies, including diapers, wipes, cribs and strollers, too.
Last year, his administration shut down a Pensacola abortion facility after state health inspectors said it nearly killed three women in botched abortions within a span of nine months.