New Abortion Restrictions Take Effect Friday In Florida, Other States

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Campbell North Contributor
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Florida is about to implement abortion legislation eerily similar to the Texas bill struck down by the Supreme Court Tuesday.

New abortion laws take effect July 1 across the country in states including Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, South Dakota, Missouri and Mississippi, and Florida ABC News reported Thursday morning. 

South Dakota will outlaw abortions at 20 weeks while Mississippi plans to ban a widely used second-trimester abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation.

Indiana laws that will prohibit abortion due to genetic abnormalities have already come under firewith allegations of privacy violations.

A handful of other states face legal backlash. Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Indiana and South Dakota are under attack for fetal-tissue disposal laws. Florida, Mississippi and Missouri are hoping to block federal spending funneled to Planned Parenthood, a move which is challenged on the basis of reducing funding to programs unrelated to abortion.

This legislation comes in response to a video, alleging that Planned Parenthood recycled post-procedure fetal-tissue for profit, released by an anti-abortion group. Those who made the video currently face felony charges in Texas.

Florida legislation contains similar stipulations. The section that mirrors Texas legislation centers on admitting privileges — a formal affiliation often difficult for physicians to obtain.

Texas legislation requiring physicians to have admitting privileges was struck down for constituting an “undue burden.” Florida’s new law dictates similar provisions, requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at surrounding hospitals or a patient transfer agreement.   

While some have taken Tuesday’s ruling as an indication of reduced restrictions on reproductive rights, supporters of Florida’s new regulations are not worried about it holding up in court.

“The law in Florida is different than the one struck down in Texas. Florida law allows for admitting privileges or transfer rights. The ‘or’ transfer rights means the medical file goes with the patient to hospital. This is much lower burden than requiring all doctors to have admitting privileges,” said Republican state Senator Kelli Stargel, who sponsored the bill.

Texas laws also required clinics to meet stringent hospital standards. “We don’t have any new requirements on the clinics themselves,” said Sen. Stargel.

Laura Goodie, Executive Director of Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, issued a response statement today, “The U.S. Supreme Court made clear that politicians cannot pass laws to block access to safe and legal abortion….yet far too many women still cannot access abortion in Florida.”

“We’re calling on Florida lawmakers to repeal the law in its entirety…Every woman should be able to make her own decisions about her reproductive health care, and politicians should not be able to take that right away.”

After Tuesday’s decision, the Supreme Court refused appeals from Mississippi and Wisconsin regarding admitting privilege provisions. Alabama’s Attorney General Luther Strange said that his office would stop pursuing similar appeals.

“While I disagree with the high court’s decision, there is no good faith argument that Alabama’s law remains constitutional in light of the Supreme Court ruling,” Strange said in a statement.”

Whether Florida goes to the mattress like Texas or goes the way of Alabama, it will be fascinating to watch how this legislation takes shape in the face increasingly protected reproductive rights.