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In It to Win It

(8,347 posts)
Sun Apr 14, 2024, 09:47 PM Apr 14

The Florida Supreme Court Didn't Just Uphold a Six-Week Ban--It Denied Women Their Constitutional Privacy [View all]

The Florida Supreme Court Didn’t Just Uphold a Six-Week Ban—It Denied Women Their Constitutional Privacy

Pro-choice demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 20, 1970. Among the visible signs is one that reads, “Defend Shirley Wheeler,” referencing the first woman prosecuted under Florida’s abortion laws (and possibly the first in the United States); she was convicted the following year. (Leif Skoogfors / Getty Images)

Florida’s Supreme Court recently upheld the state’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of becoming pregnant. Not surprisingly, news coverage and commentary about the decision focused on abortion and the fact that the effect of that ruling was to allow a six-week ban to go into effect. Far from being a decision limited to abortion, however, it is one that should shock the conscience of anyone who believes that women, and all those with the capacity for pregnancy, have a right to privacy.

That right is specifically protected in Article 23 of Florida’s Constitution. Adopted by Florida voters in 1980, it states: “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life except as otherwise provided herein.”

Nowhere is it “otherwise provided” that womanhood, pregnancy or the capacity for pregnancy are exceptions to protection from governmental intrusion into a “person’s private life.” Nevertheless, Florida’s Supreme Court concluded that the people who become pregnant have no right to be let alone from Florida’s laws banning abortion care.

Purporting to carry out an objective evaluation of the words used in Article 23 the court erases the experiences and ultimately the privacy rights of the all Floridians who have the capacity for pregnancy.
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