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5 key takeaways from the Florida Supreme Court's abortion rulings

Romy Ellenbogen and Christopher O'Donnell, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in News & Features

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In a momentous day for reproductive health in Florida, the state’s Supreme Court on Monday issued opinions that usher in a six-week abortion ban but leave open a way for the state’s voters to protect and expand access to the procedure.

Justices ruled 6-1 to uphold Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, which was passed in 2022 but then challenged by Planned Parenthood and other groups as a violation of Florida’s constitutional right to privacy.

The ruling allows a far stricter six-week ban, which was passed by GOP lawmakers and signed into law last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis, to take effect within 30 days. Such a restriction would likely disrupt abortion access for women in Florida and across much of the southeastern U.S.

But, conversely, the court Monday also voted 4-3 to allow a proposed constitutional amendment that protects the right to abortion to go before voters in the November election. The majority’s ruling sided against Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who argued the ballot language would mislead voters.

Here are key takeaways from a blockbuster day on the Florida Supreme Court.

Access to abortion in Florida will be drastically reduced until at least next year

 

The state’s looming six-week restriction has been described as a blanket ban by abortion rights advocates, who say many women don’t know they’re pregnant until after six weeks.

More than 84,000 abortions were performed in Florida in 2023. The majority were performed after six weeks, according to data from the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

Overall, from 2018 to 2023, Florida doctors performed about 41% of abortions by six weeks.

What is the new six-week law? Does it have exceptions?

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