2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion. At the time, the case was controversial; forty years later, the decision continues to ignite legal, social and religious passions. The battle over abortion in the state of Florida continues unabated.
ABORTION LAWS AND POLICIES ARE CONSTANTLY CHANGING: Your updates and comments below are gratefully encouraged.
THE STATE OF ABORTION LAW IN FLORIDA
According to the Guttermacher Institute, 72 percent of Florida counties have no abortion provider. NARAL Pro-Choice America grades Florida’s abortion laws an “F,” stating that, in the absence of Roe, the state’s laws would prohibit abortion procedures as early as 12 weeks of gestation.
NARAL Pro-Choice America further notes that, although the Florida’s abortion laws have been declared unconstitutional and unenforceable, the laws are still on the books, and make generally any abortion procedure a felony, unless necessary to preserve the life of a woman endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury and every reasonable precaution is taken to preserve the life of the fetus. Rape, incest, and psychological harm to the woman are not exemptions from Florida’s currently unenforceable laws prohibiting abortion procedures.
Americans United for Life (AUL) ranked Florida #28 in the nation for its pro-life stance, and applauded Florida’s 2010 bill that prohibited “the subsidization of insurance plans that cover abortions.” AUL also cited with approval Florida’s attempt to require ultrasounds before abortions, and for strengthening its parental notiﬁcation and consent law.
Abortion Quick Facts For Florida
Below is a review of Florida abortion law and a discussion of emerging abortion-related trends in that state.
- Must be performed by a licensed physician
- Procedure may be performed outside a hospital
- Second physician must participate in procedure once gestation reaches 24 weeks
- Procedure is prohibited once gestation reaches 24 weeks, except in cases of woman’s life or health endangerment
- Unenforceable ban of partial birth abortions
- Public funding for procedure is limited to life endangerment of the woman, rape and incest
- Use of private comprehensive insurance coverage is allowed for procedure
- Individuals and institutions may refuse to participate in abortion procedures
- Mandated counseling, delivered verbally, is required regarding health risks and benefits
- Women must receive printed materials regarding alternatives to abortion, as well as related support services
- No waiting period is required prior to procedure
- Parental notice is required for minors
Florida And Abortion: Trends And Latest News
- In April 2010, the Florida state legislature amended H.B.1143 to include a mandatory ultrasound requirement prior to any abortion procedure, as well as an insurance abortion-coverage ban. Former Gov. Charlie Crist (R) vetoed the bill in June 2010, stating that the laws would “unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary.”
- Additionally, H.B.1143 would have prohibited private health-insurance plans under Obamacare from covering abortion services for any customers receiving subsidies. The bill allowed for the purchase of separate rider policies for abortion procedures, if offered from private insurance companies.
Nationally, The Abortion Issue Is Divisive And Crucially Important
As defined by the 1973 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, abortion pits a woman’s Constitutional “right to privacy, which includes a qualified right to terminate her pregnancy” against a state’s “legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman’s health and the potentiality of human life.”
In Roe, the Court provided for the first time a national framework for legal abortions. The case has been under attack in federal and state courts, legislatures and executive offices ever since. But unlike other controversial court decisions, the controversy over Roe shows no sign of abating. If anything, our nation’s people and political system seem to be polarizing around this issue. During the 1970s and 1980, views on abortion were largely a nonpartisan issue. Starting in the 1990s, however, “more Republicans believed abortion should be illegal than broadly legal (by a 21-point margin), while the reverse was true among Democrats (by 19 points).”
Abortion may also be the most important, as well as the most divisive, social and political issue in the United States today, at least among women. In a recent Gallup Poll, 39% of women in the 12 key swing states for Presidential elections named abortion as the most important issue facing women. Responding in an open-ended format, women ranked the issue of abortion above jobs, the economy, healthcare, and equal pay.
Ninety-three million eligible voters did not 2012, meaning that despite its importance, most voices are not being heard on the issue of abortion. If you would like to become more involved in this issue, you may get information to contact your federally elected officials here, contact a political advocacy group here, or register to vote here.
Guttermacher Institute | NARAL Pro-Choice America | National Conference of State. Legislatures | Americans. United for Life | Legal Information Institute
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