The War Waged on Florida's Abortion Rights
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The War Waged on Florida’s Abortion Rights: A Silver Lining

With Florida’s highest court paving the way for a severe reduction in the State’s reproductive rights, we look to a potential glimmer of hope and precedent for safeguarding bodily autonomy.


Archaic Judgement Vs Democratic Enfranchisement

Florida’s highest court has constructed the way for the State’s six-week abortion ban to come into effect while, additionally, permitting voters to pass their judgment on said issue at the conclusion of this year.


As a result of the justices’ ruling upholding the State’s 15-week abortion ban, passed in 2022, a subsequent six-week ban that was passed can begin promptly, as soon as 30 days from the date of the ruling.


This is due to a year prior Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican Governor, penning into law a six-week abortion ban that was written so as to not take effect until the older 15-week ban evaded legal challenges.  


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood, which operates abortion-providing clinics, were amongst the first actors to challenge the ban by filing a lawsuit.


In essence, the 6-1 ruling by Florida’s Republican-selected justices determined that privacy safeguards within the state’s constitution were inapplicable to abortion access. 


Concurrently, however, the court has enabled Floridians, in November when the US general election occurs, to determine if abortion rights should be enshrined in the state charter.


Read: US Abortion Rights: Republicans Reject Reason & Embrace Hypocrisy

A Potential Silver Lining

The distinct ruling, on a closer margin of 4-3, saw the Floridian Supreme Court permit that a constitutional amendment be put forward, which would safeguard the state’s abortion access to be included on November’s ballots. 


The Ballot will ask Floridians to vote ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to the following statement;

“No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health.”


The statement, additionally, states that;

“…this amendment does not change the Legislature’s constitutional authority to require notification to a parent or guardian before a minor has an abortion”.


60%, a higher threshold than other states, of voters in Florida need to approve the constitutional amendment for it to pass.


On the other hand, if the amendment does pass, then in effect both the six-week and 15-week abortion bans could be reversed. 


Furthermore, this ballot has the potential to stimulate liberal voters in a presidential swing state, which has been drifting conservative in recent election cycles.


The energizing of liberal voters has been seen in other states that adopted similar ballot initiatives with Michigan, Ohio, and Kansas among the states to have passed ballot measures in support of abortion rights, all since 2022 saw the US Supreme Court struck down a longstanding country ride right to abortion. 


This whole process has shown the alarming lengths politicians will go to to curtail abortion rights and the level of contempt the GOP has for democracy. 


Read: Texas Abortion Law: Women’s Rights Are Under Attack, Again



High Turnout & Pressure 

The Floridian Ballot proposed was opposed by Ashely Moody, the state’s Republican Attorney General, and DeSantis, showing their evident contempt for voters’ democratic rights.


Aware of the recent string of failures in state legislatures across the nation to roll back abortion rights, they fear that their minority barbaric agenda will be upended.


Hopefully, given past votes occurring across other states, well-founded fear.


However, this requires a large liberal turnout at the ballot box and increased pressure on the State’s legislature.


Civil action that says one thing and one thing only.


People’s bodily autonomy cannot be stripped away from them without a fight, so be warned. 


Read: Greenland: A Systemic Violation of Bodily Autonomy


Cover photo by Avi Waxman on Unsplash


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