TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A leaked draft shows the Supreme Court of the United States may decide to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would effectively end the federal right to abortion. But what would that ruling mean for women in Florida, one of the states that recently passed its own abortion laws?
The draft that leaked Monday is not the final word from the court. Justices can, and sometimes do, change their position.
In the leaked draft, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that there’s no right to abortion under the 14th Amendment or anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. The court found states should decide if and when the procedure is legal.
Gov. Ron DeSantis described the leak as an attack on the justices during a news conference in Fort Myers on Tuesday.
“You want to talk about an insurrection, that’s a judicial insurrection,” said Gov. DeSantis.
Gov. DeSantis recently signed a law that bans abortion after 15 weeks in Florida, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Florida’s new law would stand if Alito’s leaked draft is adopted but there could still be a challenge in state court.
“We are also anticipating that when our protections go into effect July 1, that will be subject to a state constitutional and statutory challenge,” Gov. DeSantis said.
But would a state court challenge be successful? 8 On Your Side took that question to Robyn Powell, an assistant professor at Stetson Law School.
“The right to privacy in Florida is pretty similar to the right to privacy in our United States Constitution,” said Powell.
The concept of privacy has been the basis for abortion rights. In federal courts, it’s found in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. In Florida, it’s in Section 23 of our state constitution.
But now that Alito says privacy rights don’t give women a right to choose, Florida judges could follow suit — and put further restrictions on abortion.
“If they try to restrict or ban abortion, would it be a successful approach to say that we have a right to abortion in our state constitution via Section 23?” Investigator Mahsa Saeidi asked.
“Prior to today, I would have said absolutely yes,” said Powell. “I think that it is going to give the Florida Supreme Court some inspiration to maybe question whether abortion is covered by article 23 and whether there is a right to privacy that encompasses abolition.”
The official SCOTUS ruling is expected to come down in two months.