The astonishing radicalism of Florida’s new ban on abortion

“In spring 2022, just months before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Republicans in Florida passed a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, down from the previous legal threshold of 24 weeks. It took effect that summer, but advocates for reproductive rights challenged it in state court as unconstitutional.
One year later, Republicans in Florida took even more aggressive action against reproductive freedom: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new bill to restrict abortion at six weeks of pregnancy. But the fate of that law rested on what the court would decide about the 15-week ban. If it decided that ban was legal, the six-week ban would be, too.

In early April, nearly two years after challengers first filed their lawsuit, the Florida Supreme Court finally issued its ruling: The 15-week ban is constitutional under state law, and therefore the six-week ban would take effect 30 days later, on May 1.

In practical terms, six weeks is a total ban. Many people do not even know they’re pregnant by then. Even if they are aware, Florida requires patients seeking abortions to complete two in-person doctor visits with a 24-hour waiting period in between, a challenging logistical burden to meet before 15 weeks and a nearly impossible one before six.

Not only will the six-week ban decimate abortion access for Florida residents, but it will also significantly curtail care for people across the South, who have been traveling to Florida from more restrictive states since Roe was overturned. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group, there were 8,940 more abortions in Florida in 2023 compared to 2020—a 12 percent increase that researchers attribute largely to travel from out-of-state patients. Residents of Florida’s bordering states face either a total ban (Alabama) or a six-week ban (Georgia).”

Trump says abortion should be up to states. Here’s where it’s banned — and where it’s protected.

“Abortion remains legal in 26 states and D.C.
Abortion is legal for now in 3 states.

Abortion is legal earlier in pregnancy in 5 states.

Abortion is illegal in 16 states.”

Access to abortion pills has grown since Dobbs

“Since the June 2022 decision, abortion rates in states with restrictions have plummeted, and researchers estimated last month that the Dobbs decision led to “approximately 32,000 additional annual births resulting from bans.” Journalists profiled women who carried to term since Dobbs because they couldn’t afford to travel out of their restrictive state.
The total number of abortions in the US, however, has increased since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, driven by more people ending pregnancies in states that have laws friendly to abortion care. And often lost in this conversation is the fact that access to medication abortion has actually expanded in significant ways since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, both in terms of lower costs and avenues to obtain the pills quickly. The problem is many people who would be able to take advantage don’t know about it.”

“One of the biggest expansions to access since Dobbs is via broader access to telehealth abortion care in the US, even for those living in states with bans. Telehealth abortion care means a patient can consult virtually with a provider, either on an app or in a phone call or videoconference. Following that consultation, the provider would fill a prescription for the medication, and it would be delivered via mail.”

“One major facilitator of expanded telemedicine is the profusion of new so-called “shield laws” that would protect blue-state abortion providers who send pills to people living in states where abortion is illegal. Today, six states — New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington, Colorado, and California — have such telemedicine abortion shield laws, though not all have taken effect (California’s won’t until January 1).”

“While these laws have yet to be tested in court, providers expect legal challenges eventually and have been taking steps to protect themselves, like avoiding travel to states with abortion bans in case a prosecutor tries to arrest them for violating their criminal statute.”

“Outside of telemedicine options, there are over two dozen e-commerce websites that sell and ship medication abortion to the US. This international supply chain has grown significantly since Dobbs and most of these sites do not require prescriptions and do not require people to upload their IDs or have medical consultations.”

What an abortion hotline reveals about reproductive care after Roe

“I hear them trying to get their own patients to another state for care that they need, which is insane. If you have somebody who has a premature rupture of membranes with a pre-viable fetus, and they need to have that fetus removed for their own well-being and safety, and it’s not ever going to be a living being — to not be able to do that procedure in your own state, but to have to transfer somebody who is at risk of hemorrhage, at risk of infection, is insane. It’s an insane thing that’s happening to health care. People are literally on Signal chats trying to find care for their patients. So, yeah, that’s what I’m hearing. That’s the devastating news out of so many of these states.”

Republicans turn on each other amid post-Roe chaos

“Republican state officials have been waiting decades for the chance to ban abortion.

Now that they can, red state lawmakers are mired in partisan infighting and struggling to agree on how far to go. The most fervently anti-abortion lawmakers are accusing their colleagues of capitulating on rape and incest exceptions, while those calling for compromise or moderation believe more strident Republicans are ignoring political realities.”

4 charts that show just how big abortion won in Kansas

“On Tuesday, an unprecedented number of Kansans voted against a constitutional amendment that would have allowed lawmakers to end abortion protections. That’s a big win for women’s rights, but the outcome also carries major implications for elections nationwide this November. It’s especially true in those states where abortion rights are on the ballot after the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade and where Democrats are seeking to stay in power.

Contrary to what some conservatives had thought, abortion is an issue that can mobilize voters.

More than 900,000 Kansans showed up to the polls to vote on the state’s abortion referendum. That’s the biggest turnout for a primary election in the state’s history, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. That number is closer to what we’d expect to see in a general election turnout, which is always vastly higher than primaries. And it suggests we could also see high turnout in upcoming primaries where abortion is on the docket.”

“What’s perhaps most surprising about the referendum vote is that it happened in a very Republican state. Just a quarter of registered voters in Kansas are Democrats, while 40 percent are Republicans. Nearly a third are unaffiliated.”

Dobbs Opened Up an Attack on Doctors

“The whole sorry affair should remind us of one key reason why Roe was decided in the first place: to protect doctors.

It is a sad fact that some doctors will avoid providing essential medical care if the treatment in question is politically controversial. These doctors understandably fear that an overzealous prosecutor might use a vague law against them, just as Indiana’s attorney general threatened to do here.

Doctors who deal in certain types of pharmaceuticals run the same risks. In fact, just three days after Dobbs, the Supreme Court actually enhanced the legal protections for doctors who prescribe opioids. In an ironic twist, the Court did so while effectively reviving a pre-Roe case that protected the medical privacy rights of abortion providers.”

“The Dobbs decision obliterated those medical privacy protections by a narrow 5–4 vote. Yet by a 6–3 vote just three days later, the Supreme Court embraced the logic of Roe’s most important predecessor (Vuitch) when it strengthened the medical privacy rights of doctors who prescribe opioids (Ruan).

This contradictory and confusing state of affairs is bad both for medicine and for the law, and it ought to be fixed as soon as possible. Whenever a poorly drafted statute is open to abuse by an overreaching prosecutor, the Supreme Court has the option of using the void-for-vagueness doctrine to strike down the offending law. The Court could also require that all abortion regulations conform to the doctor-friendly rules spelled out in Ruan and Vuitch. Particularly egregious laws, meanwhile, can be invalided by the courts for lacking a rational basis.

The Constitution provides firm procedural safeguards whenever the government interferes with life, liberty, property, or privacy. The Supreme Court needs to ensure that doctors still enjoy those safeguards’ benefits.”

Fetuses in HOV Lanes, Abortions at Sea, and More Post-Dobbs Weirdness

“A pregnant Plano, Texas, woman argues that she has a right to drive in a highway lane reserved for vehicles with two or more passengers. At 34 weeks pregnant, Brandy Bottone was pulled over by police while driving in a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane on Interstate 75 South. When asked if there was anyone else in the car, Bottone pointed to her stomach and said “my baby girl,” she told The Dallas Morning News:
“One officer kind of brushed me off when I mentioned this is a living child, according to everything that’s going on with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. ‘So I don’t know why you’re not seeing that,’ I said.

“He was like, ‘I don’t want to deal with this.’ He said, ‘Ma’am, it means two persons outside of the body.’

“He waved me on to the next cop who gave me a citation and said, ‘If you fight it, it will most likely get dropped.’

“But they still gave me a ticket. So my $215 ticket was written to cause inconvenience?

“This has my blood boiling. How could this be fair? According to the new law, this is a life.

Bottone said she will be fighting the citation in court.

Her situation hints at how all sorts of existing rules could change—or at least be challenged—when the legal definition of personhood changes.”

The end of Roe will mean more children living in poverty

“Almost half the United States is ready to outlaw abortion now that the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade. But many of those states are not willing to give new babies and their families the educational, medical, or financial support they need to lead a healthy life. That could leave tens of thousands of future children unnecessarily disadvantaged and living in poverty.”

“Those births will predominately be in the states with the most draconian post-Roe abortion restrictions. And with a few exceptions, those 22 states rank in the bottom half of states in the comprehensive support they provide to children and their families, according to the State-by-State Spending on Kids Dataset compiled by Brown University’s Margot Jackson and her colleagues. The disparities can be enormous: Vermont spends three times as much money on education, health care, and other economic support for children as Utah.”

“The children born in these circumstances will start life a few steps behind, all because their political leaders strove to ban abortion without offering support to the children who would be born if their aims were achieved.”