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With potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, what could that mean for Florida?

Posted at 6:44 AM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 09:48:56-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A new report from Politico suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn abortion rights.

The decision comes from an initial draft written by Justice Samuel Alito. So what would that change look like here in Florida?

This would mean women lose the federal right to abortion by the end of June. Striking down Roe v. Wade would also give states the power to decide abortion rules.

Here in Florida, while abortion is not banned completely, the legislature did just pass one of the most restrictive abortion policies in the country last session. In March, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 5, or the reducing fetal and infant mortality bill. It says women cannot legally receive an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The new law goes into effect on July 1.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, surrounding states like Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi could likely try to prohibit abortion altogether. Other more liberal leaning states like California, Colorado, and Washington would likely allow abortion to remain legal.

This is still very much a ‘what if’ scenario and justices can and sometimes do change their votes. It’s unclear if there have been any changes to the draft since when it was first written in February. Major decisions like this one also tend to go through multiple drafts.

According to Politico, no draft decision in modern history of the court has been disclosed publicly while a case was still pending.

The court’s holding will not be final until it’s published which would likely be in the next two months.

Some lawmakers this morning are calling for an investigation into this leak. We’ve received word that Florida Agriculture Commissioner and candidate for Governor Nikki Fried will hold a press conference about this later today.

Former Governor and Representative Charlie Crist took to twitter last night, saying in part… “As your Governor I vetoed an anti-abortion bill. And I’ll do it again if need be — because I will always stand with women.”

Crist's office also released this statement from the State Representative, saying:

"This is a gut wrenching day for women and reproductive freedom in our country. The Supreme Court’s decision will mean that the fight for a woman’s right to choose will be left up to each state to decide. Now, more than ever, we need to fight tirelessly to protect a woman’s right to choose. The stakes in this election could not be higher.

“Early in my career, I was faced with the decision to protect a woman’s right to make decisions over her body. And I stood firmly alongside women – I stopped a bill in the State Senate that would required a 24-hour waiting period for those seeking an abortion.

“I believed back then, as I do now, that the government should have no place in telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. That’s why as your governor, I vetoed an anti-abortion bill. And I’ll do it again.

“Right now, Congress must take action to codify Roe v. Wade into law before reproductive rights are ripped away from millions. As a member of the House of Representatives, I proudly joined my colleagues in voting to make Roe v. Wade law, but now it’s time for the Senate to act. The Senate must take this up immediately, and if need be, end the filibuster to ensure its passage. The time to fight on behalf of all women is now.”

Fox 4 has reached out to Governor Ron DeSantis' office for a statement and has not yet heard back this morning.