Pregnancies in Florida and other Southern states just got scarier

Pregnancies in Florida and other Southern states just got scarier

The news out of Florida this week might have seemed positive at first glance: Yes, the state’s ultraconservative Supreme Court gave the green light on allowing the state’s voters to decide whether the right to abortion should be enshrined in the Florida Constitution. Democrats were heartened by this development, as statewide referenda on the issue have (to date) passed overwhelmingly, even in Republican-dominated states such as Kansas and Ohio. 

The success of these measures in GOP-led states shows that a substantial segment of the Republican electorate recognizes that it doesn’t want politicians meddling in their reproductive decisions. And energizing the pro-choice vote in Florida should benefit Democratic opportunities in the state, including but not limited to the chance to unseat the odious Sen. Rick Scott. 

But that piece of relatively good news was overshadowed by what accompanied it. The same Florida court allowed the six-week abortion ban previously passed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state’s Republican-dominated Legislature to go into effect next month. This law would supplant the state’s current 15-week threshold with a far harsher deadline, disallowing the termination of almost any pregnancy before many people are even aware they are pregnant. 

As Caroline Kitchener, writing for The Washington Post reports, “The new law will affect more women seeking abortions in the first trimester than any other single abortion ban to date, upending an already precarious new landscape for abortion access that has developed in the wake of the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.” Worse, six of the seven justices on the court strongly implied they favored granting “personhood rights” to unborn fetuses, which would likely foreclose any efforts in Florida to legalize abortion in the future.

But the impact of this radically punitive Florida law reverberates far beyond the state’s geographic boundaries.

RELATED STORY: ‘Serious blow’: Florida’s abortion ballot measure has the GOP on the run

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