Series

Florida Rules on 6-Week Abortion Ban

Link in Bio with Jenny and Alejandro
NBC reporter Nicole Acevedo and Lupe Rodriguez from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice explain Florida’s six-week abortion ban and its disproportionate effect on marginalized communities.
the details
The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it will ban abortions past six weeks, taking effect on May 1st. Florida’s court upheld a 15-week abortion ban, which took effect in 2022, removing a barrier for the six-week ban that...
+ READ MORE
Show transcript
00:00
The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it will ban abortions
00:03
past six weeks taking effect on May 1st.
00:07
So the court upheld a 15 week ban which took effect in
00:11
2022 and removed the barrier for the six week ban that Governor
00:16
Rhonda Santa signed in April 2023.
00:20
Previously, the state's privacy clause guaranteed the right to receive an
00:24
abortion. The court ruled that Florida's residents will be allowed to
00:28
vote on abortion in the November ballot.
00:30
However, abortion past six weeks is banned in the state until
00:35
then, doctors will have to turn away patients until Florida citizens
00:39
vote later this year.
00:41
The ban will disproportionately affect women in marginalized communities even more.
00:47
Some say a six week ban is similar to a total ban
00:52
because many women do not know they're pregnant until after that.
00:55
There are now 16 states that have a near total ban on
00:59
abortion. And Florida will join next month being the 17th state
01:03
Now joining us are NBC reporter Nicola Acevedo,
01:07
as well as Lupe Rodriguez from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive
01:11
Justice to explain Florida's new abortion policy.
01:16
Hi, ladies. Hi,
01:18
thanks for having us.
01:19
Thank you. Thank you for being here.
01:22
Nicole, can you explain the latest Florida Supreme Court's
01:25
abortion ruling? And what does this mean for women in the
01:29
state? What out of the Florida Supreme Court,
01:32
what we just saw happen was that the court,
01:35
there was looking into a series of cases,
01:38
a couple of cases that were brought to the court to challenge
01:42
some of the newer laws in the state trying to ban abortions
01:47
after 15 weeks and another one after six weeks and in,
01:52
in a couple of decisions,
01:53
what happened was they uphold the 15 week abortion ban.
01:59
And at the same time,
02:00
they saw the six week one.
02:05
So until May 1st,
02:07
there's a 15 week abortion ban in Florida.
02:09
After that, it's going to be a six week abortion ban
02:12
But there is a catch.
02:14
This court also decided that it would be up for the voters
02:18
whether that law will continue to remain in place moving forward
02:22
So in November,
02:23
in the election, there's gonna be some language in the ballots
02:27
when people go to vote to see if in the state of
02:30
Florida, they want to protect the right for,
02:33
for an abortion. And if voters say yes,
02:37
then these bans that,
02:38
that are going to be in effect in the next several months
02:42
are going to be lifted.
02:44
So vote, vote,
02:45
vote, vote, Lupe.
02:47
Some experts say the six week ban on abortion is nearly a
02:51
total ban since many women don't know they're pregnant until after that
02:55
Can you speak on this?
02:57
The majority of women,
02:58
over two thirds of women don't know that they're pregnant by six
03:03
weeks. Many find out very close to six weeks.
03:06
But,, you know,
03:08
it takes a while to be able to find a place to
03:10
get care. It takes a while to sort of make all
03:13
of the arrangements that have to happen in the state of Florida
03:15
People have to pay out of pocket to get this care
03:18
And so that means,
03:19
you know, having the money coming up with what you need
03:22
to be able to do it.
03:23
It really essentially means that people will not have access to this
03:26
care in the state of Florida.
03:28
And unfortunately, what that's what that looks like is that,
03:30
you know, the closest place where folks can get care is
03:34
in Charleston, North Carolina,
03:35
which only serves people until 12 weeks.
03:38
There's just a lot of barriers and issues that will make this
03:41
even more difficult, even more restrictive.
03:44
And again, for us really be a full ban for most
03:47
people and particularly for Latinas and for other women of color,
03:51
definitely it's like pressed against time.
03:53
We're going back. Yeah.
03:55
And also Nicole, the court said there is no basis under
04:00
the privacy clause to invalidate the abortion bans.
04:03
How was this a privacy issue according to Florida law?
04:09
Well, before when we talk about matters that are private to
04:13
a citizen. Abortion used to be included in that.
04:16
And that had been sort of like the interpretation of the court
04:19
over and over over the years,
04:21
what this decision did saying was reverse that,
04:24
essentially saying that abortion was not protected under that clause,
04:27
basically insinuating that it's not a private matter of,
04:31
of a person. So by,
04:33
by deciding that that's how they were able to,
04:37
to reverse that those laws that had been passed in 2022 and
04:42
and 2023 putting these,
04:45
these 15 week and six week banks in,
04:47
in place. Wow.
04:49
So Lupe, I,
04:51
I know we hinted at this and we've agreed that how is
04:55
Florida's new legislation going to disproportionately affect women of color in the
05:00
state? You know,
05:01
we know specifically for Latinas and Latina folks that in Florida alone
05:07
1.4 million Latinas are affected by the abortion bans.
05:10
And then you have neighboring states,
05:13
people in neighboring states who are going to Florida to get care
05:18
because, you know,
05:19
they have abortion bans in their states.
05:22
And so that proportion of people,
05:24
it adds up to quite a,
05:25
you know, millions of women and millions of Latinas specifically,
05:29
we also know in a study we did recently that of the
05:32
Latinas who are affected by these bans,
05:34
who are the majority in this country.
05:36
two thirds of us are economically insecure as well.
05:40
And so that means further exacerbating poverty further exacerbating inequities that already
05:46
exist in the community.
05:47
Lupe. Are there any exception to Florida's latest abortion ban?
05:52
Yes, the ban does have exceptions for rape,
05:55
incest and fetal diagnoses.
05:58
as well as to save the pregnant person's life.
06:01
You know, unfortunately,
06:02
for what we've, what we've seen in Texas and other places
06:05
where there are really restrictive bans,
06:07
exceptions don't appear to be solutions or,
06:10
or actually supportive of people,
06:12
you know, as we saw in Texas,
06:14
there were many women who were suing the state because they
06:17
were not allowed to get abortion care for fetal diagnoses and
06:22
for the health of the mother.
06:24
So it's super hard for folks to get these exceptions.
06:26
It's really hard for them to go through with it and,
06:28
and often we find that the States actually,
06:31
you know, keep people from getting the care they need.
06:34
Yeah. And, and actually to Lupe's point,
06:36
you know, if,
06:37
if you want, if somebody wants to use,
06:39
for example, the exception that they're involving assault or rape like
06:43
a police report, it's needed,
06:45
you know, to show evidence and most of these cases go
06:48
under reported that that's why it's such an issue.
06:51
And when it comes to determining,
06:52
you know, that the health of the mother is in danger
06:55
you know, how much is too much danger or how
06:58
much is danger enough.
07:00
You know, we've seen so many cases in other states where
07:04
women are put through horrible situations because the provider doesn't feel,
07:09
doesn't, doesn't know where to draw the line,
07:11
doesn't feel confident in being able to do that and not,
07:14
not have, you know,
07:16
law enforcement on, on their door.
07:19
Nicole. Speaking of that,
07:20
could women seek abortions past six weeks be prosecuted?
07:26
And how about doctors?
07:29
Yeah. And, and that's what,
07:31
what, what this law does,
07:32
you know? So,
07:33
so it, it's not legal,
07:34
you know, that,
07:35
that's, there's a cut off in,
07:37
in, in which these,
07:38
these services are not gonna be provided.
07:41
That's what the law does.
07:44
We've seen, you know,
07:45
over, over the course of many of these bans popping up
07:49
across different states is that they travel to the areas where it
07:52
is, you know,
07:53
the cutoffs are different,
07:54
maybe is 24 weeks or 15 weeks or,
07:58
you know, so that's why it,
08:00
it's just becoming so conditional for,
08:04
you know, women and people in our country to get this
08:06
this care. Last question,
08:08
Nicole, this is a presidential election year.
08:11
How is this expected to affect voter turnout since we're on this
08:16
topic? It can be a lot easier,
08:19
especially for younger voters to rally behind issues and causes.
08:24
So this presents an opportunity that maybe somebody was on the fence
08:28
about voting because, you know,
08:31
they don't feel happy with the party system or they don't feel
08:34
happy about any of the candidates running.
08:37
Thank you both so much for being on the show and explaining
08:41
this difficult topic. And how can our audience find you
08:44
both online and you could find my organization at Latina Institute on
08:49
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook,
08:51
et cetera. You can find me on Twitter or,
08:53
well X but you know,
08:54
for me it's Twitter at Nicole Marie underscore A and you
08:59
can follow our coverage at NBC Latino NBC News.
09:02
Thank you both, so,
09:04
so much for your time.
09:05
Thank you for covering the story.
09:07
Have a great day.
09:08
OK. Bye guys.