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If Roe v. Wade is overturned abortion decisions go to the state. Advocates say they're ready to fight

A crowd of more than 100 people holding signs that say things like "bans of our bodies" and "our bodies our choice" stand in front of the Florida Supreme Court.
Regan McCarthy
WFSU Public Media
Abortion access advocates gathered at the Florida Supreme Court Tuesday after news leaked that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. The move would leave abortion decisions to individual states.

Advocates for abortion access rallied outside the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee Tuesday. The crowd gathered in response to a leaked draft ruling that shows the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe V. Wade. Advocates say that doesn’t mean access to abortion would immediately end. Instead, the move would return abortion decisions to the states. In Florida, that could pit a new state law against a state supreme court finding.

“Should they overrule Roe V. Wade, 26 states are poised to ban or restrict abortion in some way,” said Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates Legislative manager Melanie Andrade Williams.

Andrade Williams said an example of abortion restriction is the bill Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law last month that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

If the court overturns Roe V. Wade that would remove some potential constitutional snags for the measure on a federal level, but the new law could face a constitutional challenge on the state level. The state constitution has a privacy clause that has been used in the past to support access to abortion up to the point of viability. But if it faces a challenge in court, the bill’s sponsors said they believe the new more conservative justices on the state court will overturn that ruling.

The new law goes into effect July 1. Advocates have already vowed to fight it.

For now, Andrade Williams said she thinks it’s important for people to know access to abortion has not yet changed in Florida.

“I think there’s confusing messaging out there but today abortion is legal up to 24 weeks and at Planned Parenthood we’re going to keep fighting,” she said.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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