Abortion ban at Florida clinic overturned
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.
Visitors to Battery Park City skate around an ice rink on the waterfront Friday in New York.