Planned Parenthood Slams Charges in Florida

     TALLAHASSEE (CN) – Planned Parenthood sued Florida, claiming the state used a “new and unpublished definition of first trimester” to “concoct” false accusations that it is breaking the law.
     Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida sued Florida and its Agency for Health Care Administration in Leon County Court. It seeks an emergency temporary injunction and a court declaration that the state’s “Notice of Operating Without Appropriate Licensure” letters are based on illegal interpretations of law, and have no effect.
     Planned Parenthood claims it complied with the state’s law for nearly 10 years with explicit approval, until Florida abruptly changed the definition.
     Before 2005, the law did not differentiate between clinics performing first-trimester abortions and those doing abortions at a later stage.
     Then in 2006, Florida defined the first trimester as “the first 12 weeks of pregnancy” and a trimester as “a 12-week period of pregnancy.” It defined the second trimester as “that portion of a pregnancy following the 12th week and extending through the 24th week.
     Planned Parenthood claims the definition is vague and contrary to medical standards, which define the first trimester as the 14 weeks from the date of a woman’s last menstrual cycle.
     Now Florida has accused Planned Parenthood of performing illegal second-term abortions, a switch Planned Parenthood calls an “unprecedented change of position.”
     The state’s demand that it stop performing abortions based on the new definition has caused irreparable harm to Planned Parenthood and its patients, Planned Parenthood says.
     State accusations that Planned Parenthood is an “unscrupulous provider” caused it to lose patients for other health care services as well, and has intimidated women who seek medical care, according to the complaint.
     Planned Parenthood seeks declaratory judgment that the state is abusing its power by using its regulatory authority “to conduct ‘monitoring visits’ – not provided for by statute or rule – rather than ‘inspections,’ which have procedures to be followed; and in so doing, has concocted allegations against plaintiff that have no basis in Florida law and instead serve only to defame and malign plaintiff, disrupt and hinder the delivery of health care services to women by plaintiff, and have forced plaintiff to incur significant legal fees and other costs.”
     It also seeks an injunction and legal fees.
     It is represented by Julie Gallagher with Grossman, Furlow & Bayo.

%d bloggers like this: