Florida will introduce one of the strictest abortion bans in the US

Research has shown one in three people don’t know they’re pregnant until after six weeks.
florida abortion ban

A ruling in the Supreme Court of Florida will ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy from May.

Research has shown one in three people don’t know they’re pregnant until after six weeks.

This week, Florida’s Supreme Court voted in favour of upholding a ban on abortions after 15 weeks. It clears the way for a stricter ban to be introduced in the U.S. state next month.

These restrictions could be overturned in November when voters will have their say in a statewide referendum on abortion rights.

Florida’s laws

The highest court in the U.S, the Supreme Court, overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion in 2022. This gave individual states the power to decide their own abortion laws.

For example, following the decision, Florida introduced a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Its State Legislature (like Parliament) then passed another law to stop abortions after six weeks gestation, unless a person can prove the pregnancy is a result of rape, incest, or human trafficking.

Court ruling

Reproductive healthcare provider Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to stop Florida’s original 15-week ban from coming into effect, which also paused progress on the six-week ban.

Planned Parenthood argued the ruling was unconstitutional because it violated Florida’s privacy laws, which state that every person has the right to be “free from governmental intrusion”.

The Roe v. Wade decision was also based on the right to privacy.

This week, the Florida Supreme Court rejected this argument, meaning the six-week ban comes into effect next month.

The ruling also means residents in nearby states with even more restrictive bans, like Alabama, Tennessee, and Louisiana, won’t be able to travel to Florida for an abortion anymore.

According to state authorities, 7,000 women travelled to Florida for an abortion in 2023.

What’s next?

At the same time as Florida’s Supreme Court ruled on the six-week ban, it also released another decision to allow a state referendum on abortion access.

In November, voters will be asked if they think the state constitution should have powers to “prohibit, penalise, delay, or restrict abortion.”

At least 60% of voters will need to support the proposal for it to pass.

If passed, it would override the Court’s decision to allow the six-week ban.

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