Governor Ron DeSantis made Florida’s historic abortion ban law into place, but there is more to this than meets the eye
On Thursday, April 14, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s new anti-abortion legislature into law. This comes just over a month after it was sent for review to the Florida House floor and was, unsurprisingly, officially passed by the governor.
Despite efforts to rally, appeal, and contradict this abortion ban bill which prohibits abortions at 15 weeks regardless of circumstances including assault, rape, incest, or free will, with the only exception being fatal fetal abnormality the law has been approved by Florida’s majority Republican government.
The law comes into effect July 1, 2022, but here are some alternative possibilities that can be expected:
Supreme Court Abortion Ban intervention
The Supreme Court of the United States has the power to strike down the abortion ban law, as it was done in Texas, on the basis of it being unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is yet to pass judgment on Mississippi's 15-week ban that inspired Florida’s, making it a waiting game. The Supreme Court does, however, reserve the right and power, to overrule state laws that contradict larger issues of autonomy and constitutional rights, making it a highly likely outcome.
Potential opposition from state courts on abortion ban
Alternatively, even if the Supreme Court does not intervene, or lets this legislature pass, Florida’s State Supreme Courts have the power to strike it down. According to a state constitutional amendment that was introduced in 1980, the government cannot dictate or infringe upon people’s natural rights and private life. There’s no way to introduce this law without contradicting state Supreme Court rulings for the last 30+ years, even though it’s unlikely to happen. The current Florida Supreme Court is heavily Republican-leaning, with three judges being handpicked by Gov. DeSantis himself.
Given that the law only makes an exception for medical issues and extreme cases, it’s difficult to predict how this will affect pregnant individuals seeking abortions. Previously, Florida law allowed abortions up to 24 weeks, but now people will have to decide before the 15th week, and in case of an issue detected later, they will need the approval of not one but two doctors. This is likely to make safe abortions inaccessible and lead to an increase in back-alley abortions for those past the 15-week deadline.
At this point, it’s a waiting game to see what countermeasures are taken, and whether or not this ruling is opposed at the federal or state level.
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