Eight months after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion, Senator Lori Berman (D-Boca Raton) and Representative Rita Harris (D-Orlando) filed SB 1076/HB 1033, the Reproductive Health Care Protections Act. The legislation recognizes comprehensive reproductive health care as a fundamental component of a woman’s health, privacy, and equality, and codifies the protections formerly guaranteed under Roe v. Wade.
Last month, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to hear a legal challenge to Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, setting the stage for a decision that will either uphold 40 years of court precedent, or bring Florida in line with 24 other states that have banned abortion or plan to do so.
“The privacy provision in Article I, Section 23 of Florida’s Constitution is clear: ‘Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life.’ This includes the right to an abortion,” said Senator Berman. “Florida’s 15-week abortion ban is blatantly unconstitutional, and for good reason. Maternal mortality is far higher in states with abortion restrictions. Our legislation aims to protect women. It recognizes that abortion is healthcare, and that women are equal citizens of the State of Florida, and free to make this important decision themselves.”
“Bodily autonomy is an innate and fundamental right. For nearly 50 years, Americans have had the right to an abortion up to 24 weeks. The 15 week abortion ban passed last year is an infringement to an individual’s religious liberties and the right to privacy guaranteed by Florida’s state Constitution,” said Representative Harris. “If a decrease in abortion is the goal, then investment into sex education and access to reproductive healthcare is the route that should be taken, not legislation that takes away people’s civil rights. This choice should be a decision between patients and their doctors and not involve elected officials.”
The Reproductive Health Care Protections Act will also provide a civil cause of action for any person whose fundamental rights to privacy are deprived or unduly burdened when seeking comprehensive reproductive health care.
“This is such an important piece of legislation because it represents the values of a large majority of Floridians who believe we should have control of our own bodies and our own futures. We should, not politicians,” said Annie Filkowski, Policy Director/Political Director for the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “Anti-abortion politicians in Florida aren’t satisfied with a 15-week abortion ban. They’re coming back this year to try to pass an even stricter ban, despite the heartbreaking stories we’re hearing about the toll the current law is already taking on Floridians. Make no mistake, anti-abortion politicians aren’t satisfied with the overturning of Roe v. Wade and banning abortion in the states, they are now coming after birth control, cancer screenings, young trans people, and all of our health and rights. They are actively working to dismantle sexual and reproductive health care nationwide.”