What Supreme Court ruling means for Florida's 15-week abortion ban

The Florida Capitol buildings in Tallahassee, Florida.
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 16:58:40-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With Roe v. Wade gone, Florida’s new abortion law is one step closer to taking effect. The 15-week ban is now cleared on the federal level, but it faces more legal hurdles in state court.

Protestors gathered outside the historic capitol on Friday. They know that, despite the SCOTUS decision on Roe v. Wade, the battle over Florida's abortion law isn’t over.

In Florida, those behind the state’s 15-week abortion ban also savoring the moment. The new law is now on course to become the state standard.

"We know so much more about what's going on in that womb and we had to move that day back," said Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.

Stargel carried the upper chamber’s version of HB 5. It trims current law by nine weeks and makes no exception for rape, incest, or human trafficking, only fatal fetal abnormalities.

“Texas, Mississippi, Florida. I mean, I think, finally, we were able to turn back to the way it should have been and it's an extraordinary, a historic day. I'm overwhelmed with emotion all day long since I heard of this morning," Stargel said.

The governor signed the bill in April, and it's now set to take effect July 1 if it survives two challenges in state court.

Women health groups filed the first, saying the policy runs afoul of the state constitution’s board privacy protections. A judge is set to consider putting the law on hold next week.

If not, a coalition of Florida doctors warned Friday that women will suffer, low-income and minority families the most.

"Make no mistake, people’s health care and lives are on the line," said abortion care physician Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran.

Florida’s governor also weighed in with a tweet, saying the state is prepared to defend what it passed this year and "will work to expand pro-life protections."

Groups like the Heritage Foundation are urging states to now consider pro-life protections.

"There might be potential for moving forward and further protecting lives in the state of Florida," said Catherine Gunsalus with the Heritage Foundation.

Far-right Republican Anthony Sabatini is already out with a formal call for an emergency special session. He’s seeking a fetal heartbeat bill, banning at six about weeks.

"I am sick and tired of Republican politicians continuing to use our bodies as their political tools," said Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando.

Democrats like Eskamani are vowing to take the abortion issue to voters this November. If the GOP wants to go further, she said they’ll have to own it.

"I dare Republicans to pressure an abortion ban as the voters will wake up and hold you accountable for pursuing such an extreme agenda," Eskamani said.

And according to court filings, HB 5 will face its first temporary injunction hearing on Monday. If the judge agrees with the plaintiffs, the law will be placed on hold.