Roe v. Wade Overturned – What it Means for Florida
July 7, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. News & Announcements Social Share
When information from the Supreme Court’s attempt to overturn the right to a legal abortion in early May, there was opposition across the entire nation. Roe v. Wade had been written into law and upheld for almost half a century, and as of June 24th, 2022, it no longer exists.
In a historic and controversial decision, the Supreme Court voted to reverse the 1973 law on Friday. Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote for the court’s majority, reaffirmed that Roe “must be overruled” because it was “egregiously wrong,” with weak arguments and outcomes so damaging that they have amounted to “an abuse of judicial authority.”
As this is a monumental moment in history for not only women but everyone in the country, it is extremely important to highlight the details of the law being overturned, along with how it will affect Florida in the near future. We will also provide resources that you can still seek out in the state.
Supreme Court Reverses Constitutional Right to Abortion
The vote to overturn Roe v. Wade was 5-4. With the overturning decision, abortion rights will now be rolled back in nearly half of the states immediately. There are also more restrictions likely to follow in its suit.
Alito’s 78-page opinion accompanying the decision to overturn Roe cited several reasons why there should be restrictions, or even bans, on receiving an abortion. One point states that there is no inherent right to personal autonomy or privacy in the provisions of the Constitution. In addition, Alito referred to the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey case which upheld Roe.
“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority,” Alito wrote. “We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
Alito when on to claim that Casey and Roe both have weak reasonings behind their texts, and that the supporters of the law have “failed” to show how to regulate abortion, and because of that the court must return the power back to the states. This pushes the arguments to the elected representatives and the people in each of the 50 states.
So far there are 13 states which have “trigger laws” in place, which will make abortion illegal as soon as the court overturns its precedents. The states which have trigger bans following the overturning of Roe v. Wade include Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming, and Utah.
It is expected that more states will follow in restricting or prohibiting the procedure. Oklahoma had already passed what was considered the most restrictive abortion ban in the country, which bans abortion starting at the fertilization stage. Florida, Indiana, Montana, and Nebraska are not trigger states, but are likely candidates to try and restrict or ban abortions now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, and Ohio had attempted to pass restrictive laws but were blocked in the federal courts. However, with the overturn, they will likely attempt to revive the proposed policies.
Florida’s privacy amendment has been ruled to protect the state’s access to abortions. In the written text in Article 1, Section 23 it reads, “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life except as otherwise provided herein.” This privacy amendment is currently being used to try and prevent the 15-week abortion ban, or a complete ban, from going through in Florida.
According to Guttmacher Institute data, 86 bills to restrict or ban abortions had been introduced this year in the United States:
“Out of all the proposed bans, anti-abortion policymakers have been focusing primarily on three types. Those are bans on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the “Texas-style” bans around 6 weeks or less into a pregnancy, enforced via private lawsuits of abortion providers and patients, and “trigger” bans that will go into effect if the Supreme Court were to overturn or weaken Roe.”
There are still several states that have enacted laws to keep abortion procedures legal even with the overturn of Roe v. Wade. As of now, there are 16 states, and the District of Columbia, which have laws protecting the right to a legal abortion. Oregon, Colorado, New Jersey, and Vermont currently all allow legal abortions throughout the length of pregnancy. Washington, California, Nevada, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine all allow legal abortions pre-viability.
Colorado abortion-rights advocates are considering enshrining access to abortion in the state’s constitution, which may be placed on the 2024 ballot. As the nationwide access to abortion procedures dwindle, there will be an influx of patients in the remaining states that allow legal abortions. A Planned Parenthood facility in Denver, Colorado has already seen a 520% increase in patients seeking abortion procedures from individuals coming from Texas.
In addition, Vermont is aiming to protect the right of an abortion under the state’s constitution—which would be the first state to do so. Citizens in the state will vote in November to decide, however, abortion access is already granted in the state.
How Will it Affect Florida?
As of April 14th, 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new abortion bill into law. Titled the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act, HB 5 will prohibit anyone in Florida from getting an abortion past 15 weeks. The only exceptions to the law will include the health of the mother, or if there is a fetal abnormality. Rape and incest are not included as exceptions to legally receive an abortion procedure. To read more about HB 5, you can find our blog post here.
The current Florida Statute on abortion is under Section 797, with 797.03 covering the prohibited acts and penalties for abortion. Under the law it states it is unlawful for any person to assist or perform an abortion on another person, except when there is an emergency case to do so. Only a valid, licensed physician or nurse in an abortion clinic is allowed to perform an abortion procedure. The law states that a violation of the law is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, which would result in up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
Now with Roe v. Wade getting overturned, Florida is one of several states that could see even more strict laws getting passed when it comes to abortion rights. DeSantis has consistently pushed his pro-life initiatives, so it would not be surprising to find that he attempts to create more strict regulations or even an all-out ban on legal abortions.
Florida leaders have not yet stated if they will seek further legal constraints on abortion aside from the newly passed HB 5. However, if Florida sees passes a complete abortion ban, then individuals would have to travel over 500 miles for the nearest provider. This would be a 6,803% increase in comparison to the average 8 miles that people must currently drive to reach a procedure clinic.
As of June 24th, 2022, the following are the restrictions on abortion in the state of Florida:
- A patient seeking an abortion procedure must receive a state-directed counseling that provides information to discourage the patient from going through with the procedure, and then wait another 24 hours before receiving the procedure. The counseling must be in-person and take place before the 24 hour waiting period begins, which makes it necessary for multiple trips to the facility.
- The Affordable Care Act’s health care options for abortion will only cover abortion procedures in the case of life endangerment.
- If a minor seeks out an abortion, their parent or legal guardian must be notified and consent before the procedure is provided.
- The patient seeking an abortion procedure must undergo an ultrasound and receive the option to view the image before the procedure takes place.
- Currently an abortion procedure can be performed at 24 weeks after the last menstrual period, only in cases of life or health endangerment. The new HB 5 is set to go into action on July 1st, which would then shorten the period to 15 weeks. However, a circuit judge in Leon County has granted an injunction which would prevent the law from going into effect. While there will most likely be appeals to the injunction, the fact that Florida has strong privacy protection, a woman is still currently able to seek an abortion up to 24 weeks.
In response to the decision of overruling on Friday, there were mixed reactions across party lines. While Republicans celebrated what they believe to be an extremely big victory, Democrats fear for what else is to come.
Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted “By properly interpreting the Constitution, the Supreme Court has answered the prayers of millions upon millions of Americans.
U.S. Senator Rick Scott provided the statement below:
“Today, the Court correctly interpreted the Constitution, defended human dignity and the foundational principle of federalism, and rightly declared that there is no constitutional right to end the life of an unborn child…While we celebrate [the ruling] the fight to protect the sanctity of life is not over. Lawmakers and the pro-life movement have the responsibility to make adoption more accessible and affordable, and do everything in our power to meet the needs of struggling women and their families so they can choose life. We cannot stop fighting until every life, born and unborn, is valued.”
Orlando Democratic Representative Val Demings had the opposing comment:
“The decision to strike down Roe v. Wade is downright dangerous and tragic. I’m sick and tired of our basic, fundamental right to privacy being politicized. Because of today’s ruling, women will be forced to put their lives on the line, victims of rape and incest will be forced into pregnancy, and we cannot say we control our own bodies in this country. Our daughters and granddaughters have lost a right we fought so hard to protect. But let me be clear: Despite today’s decision, this fight is far from over. In the U.S. Senate, I will stand up, speak out, and relentlessly fight for a woman’s right to choose her own destiny. We refuse to go back to allowing our personal decisions be made by politicians like Marco Rubio who has obsessively fought to ban abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.”
Nikki Fried, the Democrat Commissioner of Agriculture, said the following:
“This is a tragic day for women in America. The freedom to make our own choices about our lives, our bodies, and our healthcare is fundamental to our humanity. It’s absolutely devastating to have those rights taken away. It’s not an exaggeration to say that women and girls will die as a result of this decision. Women will now be forced to stay with abusive partners, to carry dangerous and unviable pregnancies to term, to be refused life-saving medical care, to seek out unsafe and illegal ways to have an abortion, to bear children conceived through rape and incest, and to endure a host of other indignities too varied and disturbing to describe. It will have a catastrophic effect on women’s economic prospects and participation in the workforce. It has and will be disastrous for our mental health. It’s cruel and inhumane, and it’s the result of Republicans’ years-long war on women and our rights. “
In addition, the Justices who disagreed with the Roe v. Wade overturn wrote a 66-page dissent written by Justice Stephen Breyer. Included in the dissent was the comment that the court decision now means that “young women today will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.” The dissent concludes with, “With sorrow—for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent.”
Resources in Florida
This is a sensitive time for many women not only in the state of Florida, but across the United States. It is a difficult concept to comprehend that our personal autonomy and rights as women are being threatened. As of now, abortion is still legal in Florida, although with restrictions. It is important to remember that there are still resources that you can access and places where you can turn to for help.
As New York Democratic assembly member Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas said, “We want to do that [provide out-of-state abortion access] without stigma, without shame and with dignity and care and compassion, given what we’re facing as a nation.”
The following are resources in Florida for seeking advice or assistance on abortion procedures:
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
It is not yet illegal to receive an abortion procedure in Florida, however with the current state of the Roe v. Wade overturn, it is not an impossible future to imagine. If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, prioritize reaching out to a skilled defense attorney in your area. Seeking the legal help of an attorney can help you navigate the legal process and build a strong defense to your case. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across Florida, and will continue to stand in our clients’ corner and fight for their freedom. For a free consultation call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.