Abortion is still legal in Florida; Florida’s law banning abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy will face a temporary-injunction hearing next week
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Supreme Court issued a shameful ruling today overturning Roe v. Wade — the landmark decision recognizing the constitutional right to abortion nearly 50 years ago. While abortion is still legal today in Florida based on strong, independent protections in the Florida Constitution, anti-abortion politicians passed House Bill 5, which bans abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy, earlier this year. Earlier this month, the ACLU, ACLU of Florida, and partners sued on behalf of Florida abortion providers to block that law, and that litigation will continue.
The ruling in this case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, will set off a chain reaction with states banning abortion and criminalizing essential care throughout entire regions of the country.
This decision is an unprecedented attack on women’s rights and reproductive freedom. Half the states in the country are expected to ban abortion, denying the 36 million women and other people who can become pregnant the fundamental right to decide for themselves whether and when to become a parent. That includes nearly 8 million people in Florida alone.
The ACLU of Florida is working with partners and providers to respond to this ruling and fight back. Bans off our Bodies is hosting mobilizations nationwide to let extremist lawmakers know that they cannot further erode an already insufficient right to abortion. Events in Florida can be viewed on this map here: https://map.wewontgoback.com/
"The courts are letting anti-abortion politicians attack our fundamental rights, but they don’t get the final say — we do,” said Amy Turkel, interim executive director of the ACLU of Florida. “While we will do everything in our power to block these bans in the courts, we’re not stopping there. We are mobilizing people in the streets and taking this fight to the ballot box to hold politicians accountable. Together we can ensure we keep the power to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families.”
Banning abortion leaves many with no other option than to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy against their will has life-altering consequences, including enduring serious health risks from continued pregnancy and childbirth, making it harder to escape poverty, derailing their education and career plans, and making it more difficult to leave an abusive partner. Today’s ruling will also have deadly consequences, with the harm falling hardest on Black women and other people of color who already face a severe maternal mortality crisis that is the worst in the same states that are determined to ban abortion. In fact, Black women are three times more likely than white women to die during childbirth, or shortly after. If abortion is banned nationwide, pregnancy-related deaths are estimated to increase by 21 percent nationwide, and 33 percent among Black women. Florida’s maternal death rate is 26.8 deaths per 100,000 live births.
Banning abortion will have an immediate and devastating impact on women and all people who can become pregnant, robbing them of a fundamental right to bodily autonomy that has been central to Americans’ ability to plan their lives, families, and careers. But the burdens will disproportionately fall on women, communities of color, those struggling to make ends meet, young people, rural residents, undocumented immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ communities. This opinion will also lead to pregnancy losses being subject to suspicion, investigation, and arrest, and patients and doctors facing charges and incarceration. The decision to carry a pregnancy is a deeply personal decision and should stay out of the hands of politicians and judges.
Anti-abortion politicians have put Florida on the wrong side of history for too long, and the ACLU is determined to not to let them off the hook. The ACLU of Florida and our partners are mobilizing supporters to make sure that these anti-abortion politicians feel the consequences of their brazen disregard for our rights. Politicians who do not believe in protecting the civil rights and liberties of their constituents, and who refuse to follow the will of the people, have no business in public office. We will be here to hold them to account.