How The Texas Abortion Bill Could Affect Florida

Bella Martin, Editor-in-Chief

On Sept. 1, a Texas bill banning all abortion procedures after six weeks of pregnancy went into effect. The law caused an uproar throughout the country, as many view it as a direct violation of one’s right to privacy and previous rulings in Supreme Court case, such as Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Besides banning abortions after six weeks, the bill allows private citizens to sue both abortion providers and any person who helps a woman obtain an abortion in the state of Texas. The law also makes no exceptions in circumstances of rape or incest, making it one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. With the passage of the law in Texas, there are many implications for other Republican or conservative-leaning states, such as Florida. 

The Florida State Legislature attempts to pass abortion restriction bills in every legislative session, but with the passage of the Texas bill, the legislature may now have more of an incentive. 

Some Florida lawmakers have already come out in support of the Texas bill and have announced their intention to mimic Texas’ actions during the upcoming legislative session in January. Namely, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson told news sources that he and other lawmakers were already working on an similar abortion restriction bill and a “heartbeat bill,” which would make abortions illegal once doctors detect a fetal heartbeat. States such as Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana and others have also passed similar bills, limiting a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.  

On Sept. 2, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also came out and said he might support a bill similar to Texas’ if one were proposed in the state legislature. DeSantis has outwardly supported the pro-life movement since the start of his tenure in 2019, and Florida Republicans have attempted to pass numerous abortion restrictions under his leadership with some success; in 2020, for example, the legislature passed a bill requiring minors in the state to acquire parental consent before receiving an abortion.  

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the Florida Constitution explicitly states citizens’ rights to privacy in Article I, Section 23. An expressed privacy right, such as the one in the state constitution, cannot be subject to judicial limitation unless under the most unique and extreme circumstances. In the past, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the explicit right to privacy in the Constitution applies to abortions and a woman’s right to choose. 

In the past, the state constitutional clause has caused some hardships for the legislature, and it may cause more if lawmakers try to pass a bill as restrictive as Texas’. However, this does not signfiy that the legislature cannot pass any abortion restriction bill in future sessions. With legislative and gubernatorial support, a new and more restrictive abortion bill may be in the works for the state of Florida.