Central Florida group takes abortion argument to state Supreme Court
On Friday, the Florida Supreme Court will listen to arguments presented by the State and Planned Parenthood regarding the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022.
Seven justices, five appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, will listen to arguments presented by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Planned Parenthood and several other organizations. ACLU attorney, Whitney White, will begin presenting the case at 9 a.m. Friday.
The arguments are likely to focus on abortion and its connection to a Floridian’s constitutional right to privacy.
That's an argument most Floridians are in favor of, said Stephanie Fraim the president of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
“People in Florida overwhelmingly support the right of individuals to access the care they need including abortion care and those decisions belong to them,” she said. "Protecting those rights, protecting my rights, as a Floridian will be certainly something we’ll hear a lot about on Friday."
On Wednesday, Floridians Protecting Freedom, a committee working to put abortion access on the 2024 ballot, announced it had 25% of the necessary signatures giving it enough petitions to be verified with the state of Florida to qualify for Supreme Court review.
"This is a huge milestone for the campaign, which has more than a third of the necessary petitions validated with the state, putting the amendment one step closer to qualifying for the 2024 ballot," it said in a release.
Earlier this year, DeSantis signed a 6-week abortion ban into law, also known as the Heartbeat Protection Act. Should the court uphold the 15-week ban the 6-week ban would trigger 30 days later.
“We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during the signing of the bill. “I applaud the Legislature for passing the Heartbeat Protection Act that expands pro-life protections and provides additional resources for young mothers and families.”
The Heartbeat Billcreates an exception for victims of rape, incest, and human trafficking, which is available up to 15 weeks gestation.
Republican Senator Erin Grall is the sponsor of the bill. She said the bill came as a result of Floridians seeking to protect the "rights of the unborn."
"For 50 years, it was legal in this country to kill unborn children, and during that time, abortion has touched every single one of us. We have to grieve for what we have done as a country. This bill makes certain our laws reflect the strongest protections for innocent life,” she said.
Where you can watch the oral argument
As eyes turn toward the Florida Supreme Court, Fraim said she's hopeful but prepared for either outcome.
"We are preparing for an outcome that says our supreme court understands the importance of this healthcare and the importance of our rights to make healthcare decisions," she said. “But unfortunately we’re also preparing for devastating news that our supreme court is in fact reinterpreting the constitution to make it mean something I don’t believe Floridians ever intended it to mean.”
You can watch the oral arguments take place Friday at 9 a.m. by clicking here.