Florida Supreme Court lets state protect preborn, but will allow ballot on abortion in constitution


Florida’s Supreme Court has ruled that a law protecting preborn children from abortion after 15 weeks gestation can take effect. This means that a law protecting preborn children from abortion from six weeks gestation onward will also be allowed to take effect. However, the court also ruled that an initiative to make abortion a constitutional right in the state can be placed on the November ballot.

The Supreme Court ruling found that the constitution does not currently protect abortion, allowing the laws protecting preborn children to take effect.

HB 5, or the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality bill, was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in April of 2022; an injunction was placed on the law, but it was thrown out, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. In 2023, lawmakers signed HB 7, or the Heartbeat Protection Act, into law, which protects children from abortion after six weeks gestation. It was specifically written to only take effect if the Supreme Court upheld HB 5.

HB 7 will therefore take effect in 30 days.

In the majority opinion, the justices wrote that Planned Parenthood’s argument — that the state constitution’s privacy clause includes a right to abortion — is false. “As is apparent at first glance, the provision does not explicitly reference abortion at all,” the justices wrote. “Thus, if Planned Parenthood is to prevail, we must find that the public would have understood the principle embodied in the operative text to encompass abortion, even though the clause itself says nothing about it.”

However, preborn children might not be protected against abortion in Florida for long. The Supreme Court also ruled that an abortion amendment can appear on the November ballot, despite criticisms that the language is deceptive and misleading, having been described as such by Florida Senior Deputy Solicitor for the Attorney General Nathan Forrester and Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver in arguments before the justices.

The amendment is sponsored by Floridians Protecting Freedom, a political committee consisting of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other abortion groups. The amendment would codify abortion into the state constitution, and Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver stated in a press release, “This proposed abortion amendment is the most extreme because it will wipe out every law regulating abortion. Other than parental notification, no law will survive, not even health and safety regulations. We must mobilize Floridians to vote ‘No’ on this deceptive amendment.”

One of the issues is with the language of the amendment, 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. This amendment does not change the Legislature’s constitutional authority to require notification to a parent or guardian before a minor has an abortion.

Aaron DiPietro, political director for Florida Family Action, previously told the Washington Post that the term “healthcare provider” is deeply problematic. “Obviously, a healthcare provider could be an abortion clinic doctor, but it could also be an abortion clinic worker, it could be a foot podiatrist. It could be a physical therapist. It could be a mental health counselor. That’s the broad definition of Florida law of a health-care provider,” he said, adding, “Whether we’re pro-life or pro-choice individuals talking about this, we need to realize this is an extreme amendment that is uncalled for and completely out of line with the majority views on abortion.”

The amendment will need to be approved by 60% of voters to pass. Previously, several abortion activists were arrested and charged with felonies for submitting phony signatures on the petition. In a press release, Liberty Counsel urged Floridians to vote against the amendment.

“This amendment is not about protecting women. In fact, this amendment will throw women into back-alley abortion butchers,” they said. “The amendment is so broad that not even health or safety regulations will survive. Unscrupulous abortionists will be totally unregulated.”

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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