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'HB 5 would be devastating': Jacksonville doctor testifies against Florida's 15-week abortion ban

Days after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Planned Parenthood begins its challenge against the state of Florida, seeking emergency injunction against HB 5.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Reproductive health providers are in court this week seeking an emergency injunction against Florida HB 5, the state law that will ban abortion after 15 weeks.

HB 5 is set to take effect July 1. 

The case is being heard just days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended federal protections for abortion. DeSantis publicly declared his intentions to further restrict abortion on Friday after the decision came down. 

But the filing in state court in Tallahassee from Planned Parenthood and other health centers alleges that the law violates a provision in the state constitution guaranteeing a person’s right to privacy, “including the right to abortion.”

“HB 5 radically curtails the ability of Floridians to make decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy and have a child, in violation of their rights under the Florida Constitution,” the filing reads.

Dr. Shelly Tien, who works at Planned Parenthood Southeast in Jacksonville, as well as traveling to many other locations to work in women's healthcare, testified Monday. 

Tien spoke about several reasons a patient might seek an abortion, including poverty, drug addiction, intimate partner violence, young age and fetal anomalies that make a pregnancy nonviable. 

Tien was asked if in cases where a patient will need to end their pregnancy because of a health issue with either the mother or fetus, a quicker diagnosis or quicker action would allow women to work inside the law. 

"Can the patients just get an abortion sooner if this law goes into effect?" Tien was asked. 

"No, because many anomalies are not evident until after 15 weeks," she said. What if it the issue can be diagnosed earlier? "Even in that setting, it is important to remember that these are desired pregnancy. So patients need time to gather information, to make the best decision for themselves... Patients need and deserve that time to make these decisions." 

Tien said if HB 5 goes into effect, she will not perform abortions. "I follow the law," she told the court. What effect would that have on her patients? "HB 5 would be devastating for my patients, and for the women and girls and families in Florida." 


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