Florida state Supreme Court upholds 15-week abortion ban, paving way for 6-week ban

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the six-week ban into law.

April 1, 2024, 4:35 PM

The Florida state Supreme Court issued a decision Monday upholding the state's 15-week abortion ban, dealing a blow to a legal challenge asking the court to throw out the ban.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments in September after it took up the case in January upon request from the plaintiffs to weigh in on whether the ban could be temporarily blocked while litigation continues.

A six-week trigger ban signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis will now go into effect in 30 days, prohibiting the procedure before most women know they are pregnant.

The decision came as part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and abortion providers against the state, claiming the ban violates the Florida Constitution.

The court decision provides a victory for DeSantis and his Republican allies who supported the legislation, but voters in the November election could undo today's win.

In a separate decision also released Monday, the Florida Supreme Court decided to allow a ballot initiative that would enshrine abortion rights in the state's Constitution. The decision will allow voters to determine the future of abortion access in the state in November.

The Florida Supreme Court building is pictured on November 10, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida.
Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Florida has been a key point of access to women across the southeastern U.S. living in states that have ceased nearly all abortion services due to state bans.

Data gathered by the Guttmacher Institute estimates that there were 4,950 more abortions provided in Florida from January to June 2023, compared to the same period in 2020.

The data estimates that states bordering bans had an uptick in abortions due to women traveling across state lines to access care.

In July 2022, a lower state court ruled that the ban violated the state's constitution and it was temporarily suspended. The law went into effect again later that same day when the state appealed the judge's decision.

Plaintiffs who launched the challenge argued that a privacy clause, passed in the 1980s via a voter referendum, includes protections for abortion rights.

ABC News' Hannah Demissie contributed to this report.

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