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Op-Ed: Florida Can Defund Planned Parenthood – Applause for AG Ashley Moody’s Victory

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Ashley Moody
“In 2016, a district court prevented the Florida Legislature from defunding abortion clinics, based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said. File photo: FL Attorney General Ashley Moody / YouTube.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody won a victory this week when a federal judge said the state may defund the billion-dollar abortion chain Planned Parenthood as reported at Life News.

“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 via Twitter.

United States District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida issued an order Tuesday in the case of Planned Parenthood et al. v. Joseph Ladapo et al., explaining that an earlier injunction stopping Florida from enforcing the defunding law was based on the presumption that abortion was a constitutional right, which was a precedent created by the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, noted the Christian Post.

“In 2016, a district court prevented the Florida Legislature from defunding abortion clinics, based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe,” Moody said.

In a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, a 2016 state law that defunds Planned Parenthood of all taxpayer funds was reinstated, as noted in Florida’s Voice.

It will take effect June 1, 2023, to allow an “orderly transition,” the ruling said. The court noted that an “essential basis” of the former ruling striking down HB 1411 was Roe v. Wade‘s “right to an abortion.” “The Supreme Court overturned Roe,” the ruling said.

“Now that the case at the center of the court’s reasoning has been overturned, we are petitioning the court to vacate the court’s injunction and allow the will of our state’s legislative body and the people who elected them to take effect,” Moody said.

Moody’s motion to vacate the court’s injunction:

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5), a court may relieve a party from a final judgment or order where ‘applying it prospectively is no longer equitable.’…As the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, ‘it is appropriate to grant a Rule 60(b)(5) motion when the party seeking relief from an injunction can show ‘a significant change either in factual conditions or in law.’…In fact, ‘[a] court errs when it refuses to modify an injunction or consent decree in light of such changes.’

According to a February 2023 article in The Floridian Press, Gov. Ron DeSantis has lent his full support to Attorney General Ashley Moody’s motion to vacate an injunction against an existing Florida statute that prohibits tax dollars from going to fund the for-profit Planned Parenthood’s abortion business.

“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,” stated Gov. DeSantis’s press secretary Bryan Griffin.

The Florida Senate passed a historic pro-life bill in April, 2022, to protect unborn babies by banning abortions after 15 weeks. The state Senate voted 23-15 along party lines to give final approval of the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act (House Bill 5).

Will Planned Parenthood fight back?

Per an article in Tampa Bay Times, Stephanie Fraim, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said in a statement that “the state is jeopardizing Floridians’ health” by blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving funding. She said her organization would work to continue to provide affordable care.

Writing at Teen Vogue, Planned Parenthood CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said she will never stop fighting for the legalized killing of unborn babies, and she is glad her 10- and 13-year-old daughters support her. Johnson urged teenagers to join her in working to legalize abortion on demand across America again.

Heartfelt gratitude goes to Team DeSantis and AG Moody for saving and protecting unborn babies.

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5) 

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