Sunday, April 14, 2024

‘Life Wins’: FL Supreme Court Protects Life at 6 Weeks, but Voters Will Have Final Say This Fall

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Florida’s Supreme Court issued two major rulings on abortion Monday upholding a ban that protects the lives of unborn persons, but also allowing Florida voters to decide this fall whether to enshrine abortion protections in the state constitution. 

In dual decisions, the court ruled 6-1 a 15-week limit on abortions is constitutional. 

That ruling also upholds a stricter law signed by the state legislature last year to protect unborn lives starting at 6 weeks while making exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomalies, and medical emergencies.

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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a 15-week ban into law in 2022, but Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and others challenged the law arguing that the Florida Constitution’s unique privacy clause explicitly protected a right to abortion in the state and should remain in force.

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief to the Florida Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, et al., v. State of Florida, et al., on behalf of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Fiona Jackson Center for Pregnancy, and Issues4life Foundation, in defense of Florida’s 15-week abortion ban since the Florida Constitution affirms “the right to enjoy and defend life” regardless of “race, religion, national origin, or physical disability.” 

Liberty Counsel Action also filed an amicus brief in the same case arguing that the Court should overrule the state’s first abortion opinion issued in 1989.

In Monday’s ruling, the court said in its majority opinion that “consistent with longstanding principles of judicial deference to legislative enactments, we conclude there is no basis under the Privacy Clause to invalidate” the 15-week statute.

“Planned Parenthood cannot overcome the presumption of constitutionality and is unable to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the 15-week ban is unconstitutional,” they added. 

As a result, the justices also concluded that the separate “six-week ban will take effect in thirty days.”

“Today, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the dreadful history of abortion that began with an activist bench in 1989. Even before Liberty Counsel was founded in 1989, I have worked to overturn the In re T.W. decision because it did not have any basis in the Florida Constitution and has caused incalculable damage. Today, the wrongly decided abortion opinions are no more. The Constitution wins. Life wins,” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver.

In a separate case, the court gave the green light for a November ballot referendum that would permanently enshrine abortion access in the Florida Constitution.

Pro-lifers are concerned the proposed constitutional amendment could drastically expand abortion access. It says, “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.”

It provides for one exception that is already in the state constitution: Parents must be notified before their minor children can get an abortion.

READ:  Pro-Lifers Warn ‘Extremely Deceptive’ Amendments to Open Abortion Floodgates in Many States in 2024

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