Judge rules against plaintiffs in fight against Florida’s 15-week abortion ban

MIAMI – A judge in Miami-Dade County denied a group of clergy members’ request for a temporary injunction against HB 5, Florida’s 15-week abortion ban.

The law, which went into effect in July, prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, with two very narrow exceptions.

On Aug. 1, 2022, clergy members of five religions filed separate lawsuits claiming the ban violates their Florida and federal constitutional rights of religious freedom and speech.

The lawsuits have since been consolidated into one case.

They argued that their request for a temporary injunction should be granted because the language of the law is vague and they believe it would potentially open the door for the criminal prosecution of clergy should they advise or accompany someone to an abortion.

The judge disagreed with their argument.

“The plaintiffs in these consolidated actions are under no immediate and ongoing risk of prosecution,” Judge Michael Hanzman said.

Rabbi and plaintiff Gayle Pomerantz reacted to the ruling.

“I think the judge ruled on just one aspect of the motion and not in its entirety,” she said. “I think that the bill challenges our constitutional rights. It challenges separation of church and state.”

Some Jewish clergy have argued that an abortion ban violates the religious freedom of Jews.

In July, a lawsuit by a Boynton Beach rabbi said under Jewish law, abortion “is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman.”

Hanzman emphasized to the plaintiffs that this ruling does not mean that their case is over, just that he denied a motion for an injunction against the law.

He said the plaintiffs may carry on with their case if they choose to do so.

About the Authors:

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.