Nearly 75,000 abortions were reported to Historic City News in Florida in 2020, up 4% from the previous year, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.
Governor Ron DeSantis ran afoul of some pro-life advocates in his own Republican ranks last year when he did not specifically close abortion clinics — even as many businesses were shut down. However, a significant difference in Florida’s efforts to limit abortions is the makeover in the state and federal courts in the past two years.
The conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court recently let stand the highly restrictive abortion law in Texas. Like the federal high court, the Florida Supreme Court also has a much more conservative set of justices. Monday marks the beginning of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2021-2022 session.
That has emboldened pro-choice lawmakers who now see less of a chance that a court will strike down a hard-fought, politically fraught legislative win.
Currently, abortion in Florida is legal for up to 24 weeks, and later in the case of an emergency.
Legislation introduced in late September would ban abortion in Florida when a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill also strikes the word “fetus” in favor of “unborn child”. Heartbeat usually occurs six to eight weeks after conception. Earlier this year, state House Republicans floated another abortion bill, the “Florida Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”, that would have reduced the legality of abortion to 20 weeks, but it did not progress out of committee level.