FFRF deplores Florida Supreme Court’s OK of far-reaching abortion ban

The seven judges of Florida's Supreme Court Justice

Florida’s Supreme Court Justices

Florida has fallen to anti-abortion crusaders. A crushing decision on Monday, April 1, by the state Supreme Court approved one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation calls it appalling that the ruling will effectively eliminate abortion access throughout the South when the ban takes effect in 30 days. Hope is found in a separate decision issued on the same day by the same court, however, ruling that an amendment to enshrine abortion rights in Florida’s Constitution can go on the November ballot. The high court sided with Floridians Protecting Freedom, which gathered more than 1.5 million signatures for the ballot initiative, after Florida’s attorney general sued to halt it.

In the abortion judgment, the court ruled 6-to-1 in favor of the state’s 15-week ban dating to 2022, which will trigger a stricter six-week ban passed earlier this year. The conservative court ran roughshod over a privacy amendment Florida voters adopted in 1980, at a time when Florida court decisions repeatedly acknowledged that the right to privacy was expanded under Roe, wrote Justice Jorge Labarga in a dissent. Labarga also emphasized that the Florida Supreme Court itself issued a 1989 ruling holding that Florida’s express right of privacy encompasses the right to an abortion.

Revealing how devastating the ban will be is a statistic cited in the Washington Post showing that 82,000 abortions were performed in Florida last year, more than in almost any other state. The 15-week ban that was already in place had compelled many Floridians with unwanted pregnancies to travel out of the South. Other states where abortion is legal will not be able to meet the need, showing the casual cruelty of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban, which the Post points out he promoted as a key issue in his failed presidential bid.

The constitutional amendment drive provides ground for tempered optimism. A 60 percent supermajority will be needed to pass the proposed amendment on the November ballot, which reads: “No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.” A late 2023 poll shows how close the vote may be, with 62 percent of respondents saying they’d vote “yes” on the proposed amendment, 29 percent would vote no, and 9 percent with no response.

“We are confident that Floridians who value freedom from church-and-state control of this most personal decision over when and whether to become a parent will vote to undo Florida’s pernicious ban,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with 40,000 members and several chapters across the country, including over 2,000 members and the Central Florida Freethought Community chapter in Florida. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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