In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the restrictive abortion laws of two states (Roe v. Wade, Texas, and Doe v. Bolton, Georgia). The decision was broad in character and affected the laws of virtually every state, including Florida. According to the court’s ruling, states may not restrict a woman’s right to abortion until the fetus is viable. To ensure the protection of maternal health, states are permitted to regulate the conditions under which abortion may be performed and states may act to preserve an interest in the potential life of the fetus by limiting access to abortion in the final months of gestation.
Threats to women’s right to abortion come in many guises, such as:
- fetal rights or fetal endangerment movements;
- regulations of a pregnant woman’s life;
- physical blockades to entrances to abortion providers, harassing both patients and staff;
- TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws that create arbitrary or difficult standards aimed at closing abortion clinics. For example, some laws require abortion clinics to renovate their facilities to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Others require providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
- So-called “crisis pregnancy centers” present as bona fide health care clinics but offer biased, faith-based messaging to intentionally mislead women about pregnancy options and block them from accessing abortion care.
LWVF, as a member of the Floridians for Reproductive Freedom, fights any attempts to legitimize such policy proposals and programs, and instead affirms and advocates for equal and safe access to abortion care. Eliminating reproductive oppression is a goal toward the coalition’s vision of an inclusive future where all will be treated with dignity, respect and compassion.