Florida has historically been a battleground over abortion rights

The Florida Capitol buildings in Tallahassee, Florida.
Posted at 3:23 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 18:19:25-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida has often been a battleground in the fight over abortion for decades.

In 1973, the landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court found the due process clause of the Constitution allowed women to terminate pregnancy in the first and second trimesters without government interference.

Violence came to Florida on Christmas day 1984, when a Pensacola abortion clinic was fire-bombed by two pro-life activists.

Five years later, then-Florida Republican Gov. Bob Martinez called state lawmakers, asking them to pass a 20-week abortion ban following a new Supreme Court ruling, but Democrats voted the bill down.

In 1993 and again 1994, pro-life activists fatally shot doctors outside clinics in Pensacola.

Around this same time, the pro-life group Operation Rescue International was run out of Melbourne, Florida and the Space Coast became the site of numerous protests in front of clinics. Supreme Court justices upheld a Florida law prohibiting protesters from clinic entrances and parking lots.

Roe v. Wade remained the law of the land until Republicans in Florida started to whittle away at it. In 2014, then-Gov. Rick Scott signed a law prohibiting women from abortions if doctors deemed the fetus would be able to survive outside the womb.

Then on April 14, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks in Florida starting on July 1.

And Tuesday's news is the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a draft of a majority opinion, will vote to strike down Roe v. Wade, opening the door for further restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.