Abor­tion ban at Florida clinic over­turned

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

OR­LANDO, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court on Thurs­day over­turned two lower-court de­ci­sions that would have stopped abor­tions and sono­grams from be­ing per­formed at a Planned Par­ent­hood af­fil­i­ate out­side Or­lando.

The high court said the trial judge mis­stated facts, and sent the case back to the lower courts for fur­ther lit­i­ga­tion. In the mean­time, the pro­ce­dures can take place at the Kis­sim­mee Health Cen­ter op­er­ated by Planned Par­ent­hood of Greater Or­lando.

A group of doc­tors who op­pose abor­tion and who work at a dif­fer­ent of­fice in the same med­i­cal com­plex filed the orig­i­nal suit, which fo­cused on prop­erty re­stric­tions im­posed 30 years ago by the orig­i­nal de­vel­oper.

The trial judge ruled that the clinic vi­o­lates the pro­hi­bi­tion by pro­vid­ing abor­tions be­cause Planned Par­ent­hood is a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion en­gag­ing in ad­vo­cacy and out­reach, not a “physi­cian’s prac­tice.” The judge also barred the clinic from of­fer­ing sono­grams. Both the high court and the ap­pel­late court said that was an er­ror.

Planned Par­ent­hood of­fi­cials had told the trial judge that abor­tions ac­counted for only 1 per­cent of the ser­vices the or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vided.

“Ac­cord­ingly, the trial court’s con­clu­sion that abor­tions would be ‘sub­stan­tial’ and ‘cen­tral’ to Planned Par­ent­hood’s physi­cian prac­tice is sim­ply not sup­ported by com­pe­tent, sub­stan­tial ev­i­dence in the record,” a ma­jor­ity of the Florida Supreme Court jus­tices wrote.

AP/JULIE JACOBSON

Vis­i­tors to Bat­tery Park City skate around an ice rink on the wa­ter­front Fri­day in New York.

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