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The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) ordered a clinic Monday to pay nearly $200,000 in fees for violating a rule preventing women from receiving an abortion within 24 hours of requesting the procedure, according to a final order.

The rule, which lawmakers passed in 2015 and instated in April 2022, mandates that women must receive an ultrasound as well as a full explanation of the risks posed by abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure takes place, the Orlando Weekly reported. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the rule in June 2015, and the legal move prevented the bill from taking effect until Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey dismissed the suit in 2022, according to The Associated Press.

The Center Of Orlando For Women violated the new rule 193 times within 17 days of it taking effect, according to the final order.

“Respondent’s [the abortion clinic’s] office manager admitted she knew about the law, yet did not change Respondent’s operating procedures to comply with it,” the final order says.

While the clinic did not dispute the charges brought by the state, it originally argued that the fines were too steep in comparison to the legal violation, the Citrus County Chronicle reported. 

The law only recently came into effect because of the lengthy legal battle that was finally decided on April 25, 2022, according to the Orlando Weekly. Julie Gallagher, the clinic’s counsel, argued in the original legal statement that the clinic did not comply only because it did not know about the end of the injunction until 15 days after its passing.

Administrative Law Judge J. Bruce Culpepper originally recommended more lenient action in April 2023, ordering that the clinic should only pay a $67,550 fine for violating the law, according to the Citrus County Chronicle.

But the final decision, made by the AHCA on Monday, ordered that the clinic must fully pay the original $193,000 fine.

Several other cases related to abortion clinics have already reached settlements, the Orlando Weekly reported. But this case marks the highest settlement reached so far under the new Florida abortion law, according to the Citrus County Chronicle.

The Center Of Orlando For Women didn’t respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.


Lillian Tweten on August 15, 2023

Daily Caller News Foundation

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