Planned Parenthood Florida says it’s not done anything wrong, and is accusing the state Agency for Healthcare Administration of flip-flopping on the rules regarding abortions. The issue could be heading to an administrative law court.
Planned Parenthood Florida Clinics say they are allowed to perform abortions up to 13.6 weeks, a period that’s considered within the first trimester of pregnancy. AHCA says three clinics were found to be in violation of a state rule that says the first trimester is the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The second part of the rule adds the words, "first 14 completed weeks from the last normal menstrual period". Jacksonville-based administrative law attorney Tad Delegal says while he’s not familiar with the overall issue- it appears AHCA is using what’s called a non-rule policy:
“If they’re not giving credit to the 14 week provision, they are. If they’re creating just sort of a hard and fast 12-week rule without regard to the 14 week portion of it, then it would appear they’re violating the rule of creating a non-rule policy," he said.
If that’s the case, Delegal says, Planned Parenthood could take the issue to an administrative law judge to sort out. AHCA says it will penalize the Florida planned parenthood clinics it found to be in violation of the rule. But in a statement, Laura Goodhue, Executive Director Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, says “AHCA’s new interpretation is grossly inconsistent with years of previous inspections and outside of both the regulations and accepted medical standards".
Abortions have long been a sensitive issue, and the recent emergence of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the sale of fetal tissue for research has once again led to calls the organization should lose its federal funding. Governor Rick Scott ordered an inspection of the state facilities in response to those videos.