JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Even if Roe v Wade is overturned, banning abortion in Florida would be more difficult than in other states.
That’s because of the right to privacy written into the state constitution.
A Democratic state lawmaker wants to enshrine further protections into state law.
State Senator Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) not only wants to codify the constitution’s right to privacy into state statute, she is drafting a bill that would create an explicit right to abortion into law.
Berman told us the legislation she’s writing would guarantee women the right to contraception, the right to have a child, and a right to have an abortion.
Berman said women would have the right to have an abortion before viability but said there’s no specific time restriction written into the legislation.
“It simply says that women can have control of their reproductive rights,” said Berman.
Putting the protections into law would build on abortion rights in the state constitution.
It includes a right to privacy, which the State Supreme Court interpreted in 1989 to protect access to abortions.
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“Florida women actually have a greater access to abortion than even the federal constitution guarantees them, ‘so called’,” said Andrew Shrivell with Florida Voice for the Unborn.
Shirvell called that interpretation of the privacy clause ‘radical’.
He expects if any challenges to abortion laws make their way back to the Florida Supreme Court, which is now much more conservative than it was back then, the court will untether abortion access from the right to privacy.
“And I think it’s really up for pro-abortion to decide whether they’re actually going to challenge the new 15-week abortion law,” said Shirvell.
The court did reverse its previous stance, there would be nothing preventing lawmakers from pursuing an all-out ban, assuming Roe is also overturned.
It’s why Berman argued lawmakers have an obligation to act.
“You may see a court rule the other way and that’s a real concern to us and that’s why we need to codify things in the legislature so that the court can’t overrule our rights,” said Berman.
So far, pro-choice groups haven’t filed suit against the state’s new 15-week restriction, which is set to take effect July 1st.
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