Dec 8, 2021 - Politics

Florida AG: Manatee can't ban abortion clinics

Data: Myers Abortion Facility Database on OSF; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: Myers Abortion Facility Database on OSF; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

The Florida Attorney General's staff has told the Manatee Board of County Commissioners it can't ban abortion clinics.

Driving the news: The Republican AG's general counsel told Manatee that "the county is not authorized to adopt an ordinance regulating (other than reasonable zoning ordinances) or banning such clinics because such an ordinance would be preempted by Florida law," per the Bradenton Herald.

Yes, but: State lawmakers say they'll push anti-abortion legislation in 2022, including a version of a "heartbeat bill" that could make abortion illegal after six weeks of pregnancy.

What we're watching: As many legal experts have pointed out, Florida's constitution explicitly recognizes an individual's right to privacy.

  • Article 1, Section 23 states: "Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life."

In other words: The same clause that protects the right to own as many AR-15s as you want also protects a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.

Flashback: In 1989 and 2003, the Florida Supreme Court cited the clause when it struck down the legislature's parental notice and consent requirements for minors seeking abortions.

The big picture: If Roe v. Wade was overturned by the US Supreme Court, abortion laws and access would vary by state rather than through a nationwide precedent, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez reports.

  • Abortion would immediately become illegal in a dozen states, including Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Data: Axios Research; Cartogram: Sara Wise and Oriana Gonzalez/Axios
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