The authority to regulate abortion was returned to the States after the U.S Supreme Court (SCOTUS) overruled decisions contained in Roe v. Wade.
Roe v. Wade is a 1973 landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution generally protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.
The decision was controversial from the start but was especially hotly debated between pro-life and pro-choice groups after some states – including Florida – passed laws restricting abortion there.
The SCOTUS decision which was announced on June 24, involved a challenge to Mississippi’s “Gestational Age Act” which forbade abortion of a fetus determined to be older than 15 weeks except in cases of emergency or fetal abnormality.
In Florida, the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act forbids physicians in the state from aborting fetuses that are 15 weeks old or older.
In response to the high court’s decision, Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a Tweet that the SCOTUS decision has been long-awaited.
“For 50 years the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited virtually any meaningful pro-life protection, but this was not grounded in the text, history, or structure of the Constitution,” DeSantis Tweeted. “By properly interpreting the Constitution, the Dobbs majority has restored the people’s role in our republic and a sense of hope that every life counts.”
Meanwhile, Florida State President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) said the Court’s decision “is finally righting a grievous wrong.”
“It’s hard to believe we live in a country that has permitted the murder of 63 million innocent children over the last 50 years,” Simpson said. “I particularly like that the Court mentions, in outlining views of pro-life Americans, ‘a woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home.’ That is certainly the case here in Florida – Florida is a state that values life.”
In a written statement, The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops reflecting Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg (DOSP) said that the decision will help establish a “culture of life” in the U.S. The Foundations of Life Pregnancy Center in Spring Hill is a Ministry of Catholic Charities DOSP.
“Now, decision-making on abortion policy is once again in the hands of the American people and their elected officials,” the Bishops’ statement said. “This is a momentous step towards establishing a more robust culture of life.”
By contrast, a representative of Tampa Planned Parenthood said during a rally that the pro-choice would continue to challenge anti-abortion legislation.
“We will not stop,” a Planned Parenthood representative said. “We will fight like hell to make sure that those who threaten abortion access are voted out of office.”
Florida’s Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act becomes effective on July 1.