Major Decision in Florida Will Put Abortion Rights in the Crosshairs for November

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

It was a momentous day in Florida, as the state’s Supreme Court issued two decisions on abortion.

The first one, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade, reinterpreted the Florida Constitution to permit the state to ban abortion.

The second allows Florida voters to decide in November whether to amend the Florida Constitution to explicitly protect access to abortion, despite efforts by Gov. DeSantis and Attorney General Moody to keep the question off the ballot.

In upholding the 15-week ban, the Florida Supreme Court also cleared the way for a law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy—before many people even know they are pregnant—to take effect within 30 days of the Supreme Court’s decision. This is because the Florida Supreme Court’s decision is the trigger for a separate six-week abortion ban signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last year.

“The effects of the 15-week ban have already been devastating for Floridians,” the ACLU said in a statement on Monday. “Since the ban went into effect over a year and a half ago, many people seeking abortions have been forced to travel long distances out of state to access care.”

They added, “Others have been forced to carry pregnancies against their will, subjecting them to the life-altering—and sometimes life-threatening—consequences of pregnancy. The state’s six-week ban will increase these harmful effects by drastically reducing abortion access throughout the state.”

“The Florida Supreme Court issued two rulings today—one terribly wrong and one exactly right,” said Nancy Northup, President and CEO, The Center for Reproductive Rights.  “They’ve dismantled Floridians’ long-standing right to abortion under the state constitution. Thankfully, Florida voters will have the chance to get that right back this November.”

Whitney White, staff attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, added, “This is a devastating ruling for Floridians and for constitutional rights. Everyone deserves the right to make their own decisions about what is best for their health, their families, and their futures, without politicians standing in the way.”

She explained that “today, the Florida Supreme Court sided with Gov. DeSantis and, with the stroke of a pen, stripped away constitutional protections for the right to abortion that Floridians have relied on for more than four decades.”

This was a big enough decision that California Governor Gavin Newsom weighed in.

The Governor’s office noted that, even before the overturning of Roe by the Supreme Court, “Florida had been a key abortion access state in the Southeast for millions, including people in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.

“Floridians have fewer rights and less control over their own bodies today than they did yesterday—thanks to Governor DeSantis,” said Governor Newsom, pointing the finger squarely at his Florida counterpart.  “For the past six years, Governor DeSantis has put up a freedom façade so he could systematically cut down people’s rights based on his own personal political agenda.”

The Governor continued, “Today, yet another right was stripped away from Floridians through Governor DeSantis’ anti-rights agenda—millions of Floridians and women in neighboring states with total bans will now no longer be able to access essential reproductive health care on their own terms.”

He added, “If you are no longer able to get abortion care in your home state, California has the resources and support available to help you exercise your reproductive freedom.”

However, the Governor’s office also pointed out that Floridians can vote this November on a measure to enshrine the right to obtain an abortion in their state constitution, noting, “Since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe, millions of Americans—in every state that has put the issue on the ballot—have reaffirmed their right to abortion, including in California.”

Alexandra Mandado, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, added that the decision “puts the lives of pregnant Floridians in peril, plain and simple.”

But, she noted, “in November, Floridians will have the opportunity to amend the Constitution to protect abortion access. Until we return to Floridians having control of their own lives and futures, we won’t be truly free in the state of Florida.”

“With today’s devastating court decision, Floridians now have even fewer rights than they did yesterday. Their freedom to control their own bodies and lives has been undermined,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

She added, “Floridians are fighting to take power back at the ballot box. It is high time to get government out of our personal health decisions.”

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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