ACLJ Files Florida Supreme Court Brief Supporting Life


Edward White

April 10, 2023

3 min read

Pro Life



The ACLJ has filed a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in the Florida Supreme Court to defend a critical pro-life law banning abortions.

We filed the amicus brief in support of House Bill 5, a Florida law that prohibits the abortion of an unborn child after 15 weeks’  gestation, with some exceptions. The amicus brief explains that in the 1980s, when the Florida Supreme Court interpreted the Privacy Clause of the Florida Constitution, which does not address abortion, the court built its abortion case law on the then-existing abortion precedents of the United States Supreme Court, which have since been overruled.

Relying on Roe v. Wade and its progeny, the Florida Supreme Court in 1989 adopted the end of the first trimester as the point when the state’s interest in maternal health becomes compelling and adopted the concept that a state’s interest in the fetus only becomes compelling upon viability, that is, upon completion of the second trimester. Roe and its progeny, however, are no longer valid as a result of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. Our amicus brief urges the Florida Supreme Court to reconsider and overrule its own abortion case law, as it is based on erroneous legal analysis and is unsound in principle.

We filed the brief on behalf of the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI). CLI is a nonprofit research and education organization committed to bringing modern science to bear in life-related policy and legal decision-making. CLI believes the legal precedents and principles governing abortion should be informed by the most current medical and scientific knowledge on human development.

Our amicus brief points out that recent scientific evidence implicates the well-established and compelling state interest in preventing cruelty to living beings irrespective of legal personhood and well before the completion of the second trimester. For instance, 4D ultrasonography provides direct and convincing proof of fetal discernment, intentionality, and sociality from as early as 12 weeks of life. Moreover, a mountain of recent scientific evidence shows that, through neural structures developing between 12 and 18 weeks, the unborn child can and does experience conscious pain in utero.

In light of the recent scientific understanding of human fetal life, the amicus brief argues that the Florida Supreme Court should revisit its precedents and incorporate the compelling state interests implicated by current scientific knowledge about pre-viability fetal life. The court should also uphold House Bill 5 because the state has a compelling interest in protecting unborn children before viability.

The ACLJ has been fighting for the life of unborn children for decades and will continue to do so. We appreciate your support in this effort.