Florida Supreme Court will decide the future of abortion access in the state

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Marilyn Halfling, 71, and Linda Darin, 72, hold signs on the corner of 3rd Street and Central Avenue in St. Petersburg on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. The women gathered to honor the 48th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Daniel Figueroa IV/WMNF

The Florida Supreme Court is pondering a law that could lead to abortions essentially being banned in Florida.

In September the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments [watch it here] in the case Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida v. State of Florida. It challenges the state’s 2022 law banning abortion in Florida past 15 weeks of pregnancy.

If that challenge fails, then a newer law goes into effect that would outlaw pregnancy after only six weeks — that’s before many people know they’re pregnant.

Our guest on Tuesday Cafe was Amy Weintraub the reproductive rights program director for Progress Florida.

Listen to the show here:

She gave us an update about things like access to mifepristone as well as a ballot initiative in Florida – people are gathering signatures in order to get a question on the ballot for a Constitutional amendment to protect reproductive rights.

Watch this interview here:

Audio from Florida Supreme Court oral arguments

We heard selected audio from Florida Supreme Court oral arguments. Reproductive Rights advocates argued that the state’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks violates Florida’s constitutional protection on privacy. But several Justices seemed skeptical of that claim and might allow the 15-week ban to go into effect.

We heard from Whitney L. White who is an ACLU of Florida attorney.

She was asked by Justice Jamie Grosshans about why Planned Parenthood and its doctors and clients had standing to sue the state over the ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Justice John Couriel asked whether the abortion restrictions actually hinder the plaintiffs. The main question centered on the meaning of a 1980 amendment to Florida’s constitution protecting privacy. The state argued that it doesn’t protect things like medical decisions.

White was also questioned by Justices Meredith Sasso and Chief Justice Carlos Muniz, who seemed to take a strong stand for Florida’s law

We also heard from the attorney for the state, Henry Whitaker, who argued that Florida’s constitutional right to privacy does not include abortion health care. Whitaker seems to suggest that if the Court overturns the law it would open the way to other things like assisted suicide.

WMNF’s Tuesday Café

Tuesday Café airs weekly on WMNF beginning at 10:06 a.m. ET.

You can listen live on 88.5 FM in Tampa Bay, on wmnf.org or on the WMNF Community Radio app.

You can watch replays on TBAE Network Channels at 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tuesdays on Spectrum 636, Frontier 34 and watch.tbae.net. Or on demand.

You can listen anytime on demand on wmnf.org or by subscribing to the Tuesday Café podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

https://open.spotify.com/show/311qfxLFcO8F7ZvnjgZogD – WMNF’s Tuesday Café with Seán Kinane.

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