JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More than 200 new laws took effect in Florida on Saturday, but there’s at least one controversial change that is still on hold.
The six-week abortion ban isn’t in play just yet, and in theory, it may never be, depending on the outcome of pending litigation.
The Florida Legislature passed, and Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill banning most abortions after six weeks into a pregnancy earlier this year.
With hundreds of state laws kicking in this past Saturday, Kelly Flynn, CEO of A Woman’s Choice clinic here in Jacksonville, told Action News Jax many people mistakenly thought the new abortion restrictions were also now in play.
“It seems the patients that are calling right now, they are confused on what they’re hearing, what they’re reading about the Florida ban,” said Flynn.
Unlike other bills passed this year, the ban doesn’t have a specific effective date.
Flynn explains the six-week ban is a trigger law, and will only take effect if the Florida Supreme Court upholds the 15-week ban passed last year.
“Oral arguments have not even been scheduled yet and probably won’t be until the fall,” said Flynn.
Flynn says a final ruling may come even later, possibly near the end of 2023 or even early next year.
In the meantime, patients can still obtain procedures up to 15 weeks into their pregnancy.
But Flynn advises the earlier patients reach out the better, as other laws like the two-visit requirement can push care back.
“It’s really just about information and like said, our staff are very informed on how to navigate this process and how to help patients get in the clinic and get scheduled,” said Flynn.
Flynn also highlighted the ongoing effort to get the question of abortion rights before voters on the 2024 ballot.
Petitions have been circulating in the state for the past few months.
If the initiative makes the ballot and is approved by 60 percent of voters, it would undo the abortion restrictions put in place by lawmakers regardless of how the Florida Supreme Court ultimately rules.
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