TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Thursday asking a federal district court to block restrictions on abortions signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Rick Scott.
The bill is similar to legislation being challenged in court in other states, including Texas. State and federal laws already prohibit public money for abortion, but Florida's bill goes a step further by preventing any state funds from going to any service by an organization that also provides abortions. It also requires that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, or that the clinic have a patient transfer agreement.
Planned Parenthood officials said in a statement that the restrictions, which are scheduled to go into effect July 1, would bar access to birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and other care for thousands of patients, including a large number of low-income and minority women who have historically faced systemic barriers in accessing quality health care.
The law is expected to affect a half-dozen clinics, including Planned Parenthood facilities that serve the poor under Medicaid and other federal programs.
"We are in court because everyone deserves access to quality, affordable, compassionate care no matter who you are or where you are from. Let's call this what it is: an attack on people who already have the least access to care, all in the name of politics," said Barbara A. Zdravecky, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
The organization said it's the 16th lawsuit it has filed across the country in an attempt to protect care at its health centers, saying it provides services for more than 67,000 patients each year, including more than 11,000 Latinos.
The lawsuit comes as more than a dozen states have sought to halt or reduce public funding for Planned Parenthood.
Jackie Schutz, a spokeswoman for Scott, said they were reviewing the lawsuit.