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Judges To Hear Abortion Clinic Disputes

Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida

High-profile disputes about whether Florida abortion clinics improperly performed second-trimester abortions will be argued before administrative law judges.

Cases involving Planned Parenthood clinics in St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Naples and the Aastra Women's Center in Plantation were sent this week to the state Division of Administrative Hearings, records show.

The cases stem from inspections in August by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which alleges that the clinics performed second-trimester abortions without proper licenses.

In each of the cases --- and another dispute involving a Gainesville facility --- the clinics argue that AHCA used a shifting definition of what constitutes the first trimester of pregnancy. Each of the clinics is licensed to perform first-trimester abortions.

In the petitions sent this week to the Division of Administrative Hearings, each clinic said the "procedures noted in the (AHCA) administrative complaint were performed within the scope" of the clinic's license.

The AHCA allegations carry potential fines. The Planned Parenthood cases have been assigned to Administrative Law Judge Linzie Bogan, while the Aastra Women's Center case will be handled by Judge John Van Laningham, according to online dockets.

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