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Florida Supreme Court Allows State to Ban Abortion

The Florida Supreme Court issued two decisions on abortion today: The first, 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. 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. 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.

Under the ban’s limited exceptions, even patients in dire circumstances have been unable to get the care they need. In one circumstance, a woman whose water broke nearly died of sepsis after being forced to wait for lifesaving care. While her pregnancy could not be saved and failure to end the pregnancy put her life at risk, she was sent to wait at home until her condition was so dangerous that a doctor could induce labor without fear of violating the state’s law. In another situation, a 14-year-old survivor of rape was unable to have an abortion and forced to continue her pregnancy because of Florida’s ban — compounding the traumatic experience the minor had to suffer in addition to sexual assault and an unwanted pregnancy.

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