Six-week abortion ban set to take effect after Florida Supreme Court ruling

Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee
House Speaker Paul Renner called the six-week ban a "compromise that addresses where many Floridians are and is a good place for us.”

Florida will soon put in place a strict ban on abortions after six weeks after pregnancy after the state Supreme Court adopted a major ruling that is expected to reverberate across the entire Southeast.

Justices on Monday upheld the state’s current 15-week ban on abortion which means that the six-week ban will now take effect in 30 days. The Florida Legislature made the six-week ban, which was adopted right before Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his bid for President, contingent on the court challenge.

In its 6-1 ruling, the court overturned a 31-year-old decision that found Florida’s voter-approved privacy clause meant that legislators were blocked from adopting strict abortion regulations. Planned Parenthood used the privacy clause as the main thrust of its legal challenge against the 15-week ban.

But Justice Jamie Grosshans, who authored the opinion, contended that the initial 1989 ruling was “flawed in several respects.” The earlier ruling stated that the court could  “conceive of few more personal or private decisions concerning one’s body” than one involving abortion. Grosshans said the text of the privacy clause did not justify the reading the earlier court gave it since it does not directly mention abortion.

Justice Jorge Labarga said he “strongly” dissented from the decision and said the court ignored “substantial evidence” that voters understood that the right to privacy included a right to an abortion.

The court has had the challenge to the 15-week ban for months but opted to release the ruling at the same time that justices also narrowly agreed to place a measure on the November ballot that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.

Abortion rights supporters still decried the ruling and said that it would have repercussions inside and outside of Florida. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade there had been an uptick in women seeking abortions in Florida because the state’s 15-week-ban wasn’t as strict as several neighboring states.

“Today’s ruling will undoubtedly cause people across the state to suffer,” said Kelly Flynn, President and CEO of A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville. “So many of our patients already struggled to access an abortion under a 15-week ban. Now, the lives of even more Floridians will be in danger as basic health care is pushed further out of reach. It is heart-wrenching that we will be forced to turn countless patients away.”

House Speaker Paul Renner, speaking to reporters shortly after the court’s abortion rulings were issued, defended the looming six-week ban. He pushed back against a description of the ban as one of the most restrictive in the nation since it does allow some exceptions such as for rape and incest.

“It is a compromise that addresses where many Floridians are and is a good place for us,” Renner said.

The Republican-controlled Legislature first adopted the 15-week ban in 2022 before the U.S Supreme Court issued the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. But they shortened it to a six-week ban during the 2023 Session that included many bills that were aimed at helping DeSantis’ presidential campaign.

The six-week ban surprised some Republicans, including former President Donald Trump who said “I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Elmo

    April 1, 2024 at 9:09 pm

    And a 6-week ban until then.

    • Elmo

      April 1, 2024 at 9:11 pm

      Somebody changed the headline on this piece while I was commenting. The original headline was about abortion going on the ballot.

  • Michael K

    April 1, 2024 at 9:37 pm

    Renner calls what is a total ban a “compromise?” It is one of the most restrictive bans in the nation.

    “We the people” will have our say in November. I’m tired of legislators using women as their cheap political pawns.

    • MarvinM

      April 15, 2024 at 8:00 pm

      I just read the actual text. It’s as bad as what everyone says and worse.

      Section 4. Subsections (1), (2), (10), and (13) of section
      390.0111, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
      390.0111 Termination of pregnancies.—
      (1) TERMINATION AFTER GESTATIONAL AGE OF 6 WEEKS; WHEN ALLOWED.—A physician may not knowingly perform or induce a termination of pregnancy if the physician determines the gestational age of the fetus is more than 6 weeks unless one of the following conditions is met:

      [a, b, and c omitted]

      (d) The pregnancy is the result of rape, incest, or human trafficking and the gestational age of the fetus is not more than 15 weeks as determined by the physician. At the time the woman schedules or arrives for her appointment to obtain the abortion, she must provide a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order or documentation providing evidence that she is obtaining the termination of pregnancy because she is a victim of rape, incest, or human trafficking. If the woman is 18 years of age or older, the physician must report any known or suspected human trafficking to a local law enforcement agency. If the woman is a minor, the physician must report the incident of rape, incest, or human trafficking to the central abuse hotline as required by s.39.201.

      So, a rape victim can get an abortion after 6 weeks but not apparently after 15 weeks (unless something really horrible happens to her), and the only way she will get one is by showing proof she was raped, meaning she will have to have filed a police report, named the perpetrator if he is known, and deal with the legal system, well before she gets an abortion.

      This pretty much assures nearly all incest victims will NOT be able to get an abortion. How do you navigate filing a police report on a father or brother whom you live with, or an uncle who comes over all the time that your mother swears is the greatest guy in the world? All while trying to schedule an abortion to take place while a clock imposed on you by politicians is constantly ticking down?

      And as many have correctly said, most women are not going to even know they are pregnant in enough time to jump through all the hoops to schedule and receive an abortion before six weeks.

      You don’t just get a doctor’s appointment when you want one. But what about Telehealth? Well, no. Subsection 2 says nope, must see them in person, and medications must be administered in person, no drugs in the mail for this.

      Anyone who thinks this law sounds completely reasonable has not thought any of this through. Heck, even Rick Scott is saying 6 weeks is too limiting and is supporting 15 weeks.

  • the Truth

    April 1, 2024 at 10:32 pm

    just close your legs, then won’t need an abortion

    • Snip ‘n Clip

      April 2, 2024 at 3:50 am

      Learn to keep your pants zipped. Men need to stop acting like neighborhood tomcats.

    • FLPatriot

      April 3, 2024 at 1:39 pm

      That is your low IQ response? You really want every women to stop having sex? Maybe you should grow and and be responsible.

    • Rick Whitaker

      April 4, 2024 at 3:15 pm

      TRUTH, keep your dick in your pants and then no poor kid will ever call you dad.

  • PeterH

    April 2, 2024 at 12:12 am

    Republicans are America’s worst enemy!

    Vote all Republicans out of office!

  • Andrew Finn

    April 3, 2024 at 9:01 pm

    Well, this is certainly a large, hard pill to swallow for the abortion rights advocates who still think that abortion should be used as ” retro-active birth control “. Too bad their parents didn’t believe in abortion

  • Dont Say FLA

    April 4, 2024 at 12:27 pm

    Let’s make a deal.

    If the weed and abortion amendments both pass, Rhonda resigns like he was supposed to. And he takes his masters, the legislature, with him.

    Let’s have a Vote of No Confidence for the FLgOP. Oh wait. G0P run state. No such thing!

Comments are closed.


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