Florida privacy clause could pose legal challenge if state sought total abortion ban

State constitution could offer protection against further restrictions
Florida Voice for the Unborn demonstration in Florida Capitol, May 24, 2022
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 17:23:13-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade pushes abortion rights to the states.

Abortion remains legal in Florida, but a new law that takes effect July 1 would ban abortions after 15 weeks.

"But Florida has another wrinkle," WPTV legal analyst Michelle Suskauer said Friday.

The U.S. Constitution does not provide the language that protects a person's privacy. However, the Florida Constitution does have a privacy clause, which could open the door to litigation.

RELATED: What does Supreme Court ruling mean for Florida's 15-week abortion ban?

"Can there be a total ban on abortions in the state of Florida if there is a Florida Constitution right to privacy? So that's going to be a question that's going to be litigated," Suskauer said.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, a 1989 Florida Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution offered extensive protections for abortion rights, citing the privacy clause.

Florida's new abortion law is already being challenged in state court. If state lawmakers were to pass further restrictions – like a total ban, as women's rights and pro-choice groups fear – more lawsuits would likely follow.

Thirteen states in the U.S. have trigger laws that immediately banned abortions with Friday's Supreme Court decision. Florida is not one of them.