Florida Regulators Back Down From Claims Planned Parenthood Performed Illegal Abortions

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Florida Regulators Back Down From Claims Planned Parenthood Performed Illegal Abortions

Jessica Mason Pieklo

In a letter sent to three Planned Parenthood clinics Tuesday, Florida regulators conceded that the facilities were not performing second-trimester abortions.

Florida regulators have backed down from allegations that three Florida Planned Parenthood clinics were unlawfully performing second-trimester abortions.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida filed an emergency injunction Monday and stopped performing some abortions after the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) cited Planned Parenthood facilities in St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, and Naples for performing abortions on patients greater than 12 weeks’ gestational age but less than 14 weeks, the time period the medical community understands as the first trimester.

Florida regulators had claimed those procedures were actually second-trimester abortions.

But in a letter to Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, the agency conceded that its definition of the first trimester includes 14 weeks from the last menstrual period.

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“We’ve said all along that Planned Parenthood follows all laws and has very high medical standards,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement following Florida regulator’s decision. “The state of Florida’s own records from nearly a decade ago clearly state that Planned Parenthood is following the law. This underscores what this smear campaign is really about—blocking women’s access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests, and safe, legal abortion.”

As a result of that letter, Planned Parenthood dropped its request for an injunction and has resumed performing later first-trimester abortions at the facilities in question.

Florida regulators had investigated all 16 Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida following the release of heavily edited videos by anti-choice activists that describe the process of donating fetal tissue for medical research. The agency’s investigation found no evidence any of the clinics were improperly disposing of fetal remains.

“In every state where these investigations have concluded—in Georgia, South Dakota, Indiana, and Massachusetts—officials have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing,” Laguens said. “Planned Parenthood will not back down from the politicians and anti-abortion extremists who are using every underhanded tactic they can to politicize these critical medical issues. Planned Parenthood will keep fighting to protect access to care for our patients in Florida and across the country.”