Judge closes book on disputed abortion law
In a case that focused heavily on First Amendment rights, a federal judge has issued a permanent injunction against a 2016 abortion law approved by Florida lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, who granted a preliminary injunction against the law in September, issued the permanent injunction last week and ordered the state to pay attorney fees for a group of plaintiffs who challenged the measure.
The permanent injunction came after attorneys for the state and the plaintiffs filed a joint motion last month indicating the state did not want to continue contesting the issues in the preliminary injunction.
“In order to spare the parties and the court the cost and burden of further litigation, plaintiffs and defendants have reached an agreement for the court to convert the preliminary injunction into a permanent injunction … enter a declaratory judgment in plaintiffs’ favor, and retain jurisdiction over an award of attorneys’ fees, if necessary, thereby resolving all the claims,” the June 22 joint motion said.
Hinkle’s order last week, like the preliminary injunction, found disputed parts of the law unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in December 2016 on behalf