Florida Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Challenge to 15-Week Abortion Ban

The Supreme Court of Florida building located in Tallahassee, FL.

The Florida Supreme Court has accepted to hear Planned Parenthood’s challenge of the 15-week abortion ban that was passed last year. However, the court issued a preliminary ruling allowing the 15-week abortion ban to continue in place during the litigation.

In April of 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the 15-week, pain capable abortion ban into law.

The law, which would not prevent the killing of children at any point before 15 weeks of gestation, included an exception for the life of the mother and an exception for babies who are determined to have fatal fetal abnormalities. Both of these exceptions have been deemed medically unnecessary and ethically problematic by pro-life medical experts.

The bill passed by 78-39 in the House and 23-15 in the Senate and was signed into law on April 14, 2022, several months before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Legal Challenges

The law has faced challenges from abortion proponents like the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood who have tried to also block the law and stall the implementation of the law during the court proceedings.

In July of last year, a lower court state judge blocked the law citing the state’s constitutional right to privacy, alleging that the right to privacy includes the right to kill children before birth. However, the State of Florida immediately appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which automatically blocked the lower court’s ruling and reinstated the law.

This week, the Florida Supreme Court finally agreed to hear arguments on the 15-week abortion ban and handed a temporary victory to the pro-life backers of the law by rejecting the attempt by the abortion activists to block the law while the court takes up the case.

1980 Privacy Am. & the 1989 Florida Supreme Ct. Opinon

In 1989, in the case of In Re TW, the Florida Supreme Court determined, without relying on any text or tradition other than their interpretation, that the “privacy” amendment passed by the voters of Florida in 1980 intended to protect the “right” to kill a child before birth.

Of all decisions a person makes about his or her body (sic), the most profound and intimate relate to two sets of ultimate questions: first, whether, when, and how one’s body is to become the vehicle for another human being’s creation; second, when and how this time there is no question of “whether” one’s body is to terminate its organic life.

In Re TW, Florida Supreme Court 1989

In the In Re TW decision, the only precedent that adopted the pro-abortion interpretation of privacy espoused by the Florida Supreme Court were federal decisions such as Roe and the cases that confirmed Roe.

Since Roe v. Wade has been overturned. The logical foundation for Florida’s case law is due to be reconsidered.

The Composition of the Florida Supreme Court

As has been discussed on the pages of American ProLifer in previous articles (Ohio, Wisconsin, South Carolina), the makeup of the judiciary has become of utmost importance to the battle to make or keep individual states pro-life. In many cases, judicial reform has become a life and death issue for pro-lifers as back-room dealing by lobby groups is what determines the composition of the state judiciary in ways that shield them from representing the values of the people and instead place liberal judges in conservative states like Kansas.

In Florida, all seven judges of the Florida Supreme Court were appointed by Republican Governors DeSantis (4 out of the 7) and his predecessor, Governor Crist (3 out of the 7). Governo Crist was a Republican during his first term and then switched parties afterwards.

The process in Florida is heavily weighted towards the Governor, who appoints a judicial commission that recommends the nominees to the court.

The fact that four out of the seven judges were appointed by Governor DeSantis, who himself signed the bill, as well as the fact that the court denied the abortionist’s motion to block the law during the process of appeal looks like a promising sign for the outcome of the case.

From a legal perspective, the fact that the In Re TW opinion relied so heavily on concepts elaborated by the recently overturned Roe v. Wade decision also portends well for pro-lifers.

What Happens Next?

The Florida Supreme Court’s ruling in this case will change the political landscape of a state where pro-lifers had been under the double lock and key of Roe v. Wade at a federal level and In Re TW at the state level.

With Roe v. Wade gone, the only thing that stands in the way of greater protection for the right to life of the preborn in Florida is the interpretation of the word “privacy” within the state constitution. The outcome of this deliberation will be important not only in Florida, where pro-life efforts have consistently been blocked by the state courts, but also in other states that are deciding the exact same question. Namely, is there a “privacy” right to kill a child before birth?

But some pro-lifers do not wish to leave the question of the right to life up to the courts. There is a movement of pro-life activists who are collecting signatures to put an amendment on the ballot that would proactively amend the constitution to explicitly protect the right to life. The group will have to gather close to 1 million petition signatures to reach their goal of putting the amendment to a popular vote but are hopeful that no matter what the Supreme Court rules in the present case, the need for a proactive, specific protection for the right to life of every innocent human being will be highlighted.

Of even greater significance is the glaring absence of language anywhere in the Florida Constitution that speaks specifically to the protection of preborn human life. It is because of this that our citizen effort is underway to propose an amendment to our state constitution recognizing the right to life of the preborn. This provides an opportunity for like-minded Florida voters to sign a petition to place the Human Life Protection Amendment on the 2024 ballot.

Human Life Protection Amendment

A Life-Saving Amendment in Florida from Human Life Protection Amendment on Vimeo.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in:News

Next Article:

0 %