With Roe v. Wade now a vestige of the past, states are free to restrict and ban abortions as they see fit.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade ensures Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, which is set to take effect next Friday, will not run into any legal obstacles in federal court.
Still, at this time, the future is uncertain.
Legal challenges filled in state court argue the law violates the Florida Constitution and the argument hinges on Florida’s right to privacy.
In 1980 Floridians approved adding an explicit right to privacy into the state constitution.
Some legal experts argue it was intentionally designed as a fail-safe to protect abortion access in Florida in the event Roe v. Wade was overturned.
“No justice on the Florida Supreme Court has ever contended that the right to privacy does not apply to abortion,” said Daniel Tilley, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.
Now that argument will be put to the test.
Tilley is involved in one of two legal challenges to Florida’s 15-week ban.
He said that despite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he’s confident Florida’s constitution will protect abortion access in the Sunshine state.
“The Florida right to privacy is independent and indeed has been held to be more protective than the federal rights,” said Tilley.
But State Rep. and former Planned Parenthood employee Anna Esakamini (D-Orlando) is not so sure.
She sees the willingness of the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a nearly 50-year precedent as a signal Florida’s highest court may also break from its previous rulings.
“I’m very concerned that this complete unraveling of privacy rights at a federal level will impact privacy rights at a state level,” said Eskamani.
The governor and other Florida Republican legislative leaders have indicated they’ll let the litigation over the 15-week law play out before pursuing more restrictive abortion laws.
Co-sponsor of the 15-week ban State Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) said he is hopeful the state Supreme Court will clear the path to make that a reality.
“What we’ve seen today is the Supreme Court, much like they did with segregation in the country, much like they did with slavery in this country, is said when they get it wrong, they have an obligation to correct themselves. We’ll see if our state in this country, is said when they get it wrong they have an obligation to correct themselves. We’ll see if our state Supreme Court does the same,” Fine stated.
On Monday, a Tallahassee judge will hear arguments on whether or not to block the 15-week ban from taking effect as the case works its way through the court system.
Without a preliminary injunction, the law will take effect Friday, July 1.
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