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FGCU professor predicts what Roe v. Wade ruling could mean for certain groups

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Posted at 9:46 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 22:43:45-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — As the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and shifts abortion rights and restrictions to the states, many people may be asking what this means for them.

Dr. Thomas Felke is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Florida Gulf Coast University, and summarized how some felt coming off Friday's ruling.

“I think we knew it was coming but I think it’s still something that’s very shocking for a lot of people, maybe something that a lot of people thought they wouldn’t see in their lifetimes," says Dr. Felke.

He offered a prediction for people who might want to get an abortion, but live in a state with "trigger laws" - which were put in place in case the high court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“What you’re going to have now, unfortunately, is individuals who are going to have to try and travel if they want to try and seek out abortion services," he says.

Florida doesn't have any trigger laws, but House Bill 5 bans most abortions after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. Governor DeSantis signed it in April, and it will go into effect on July 1st.

Felke says the means to travel outside of a state won't be feasible for those who can't afford it - saying that minority groups could be particularly vulnerable.

Individuals who are going to be able to continue to access abortions are going to be those that can afford it and have the opportunity to travel. For those that can’t, we’re probably looking at a return to back alley abortions or some other means by which they’re going to try to terminate a pregnancy that is an unwanted pregnancy," says Felke.

After Gov. Desantis tweeted a reaction to the SCOTUS ruling on Friday, saying that the state will continue to defend its recent laws and work to expand "pro-life restrictions", Dr. Felke thinks that Florida could join the list of states with an outright ban.

“I would expect that there’s going to be a greater push now that Roe has been overturned, that there may be a push to just outright ban abortion in the state of Florida," he says, before offering his prediction for what we could start to see in the coming days and weeks:

“I think there will probably a lot of chest thumping on one side, I think there’s going to be a lot of sadness and anger on the other side, and I think whenever you put those two things together it tends to be a volatile situation.”