May 4, 2022 - Politics

SCOTUS Roe v. Wade ruling could upend Florida governor race

Status of abortion bans in the U.S.
Data: Axios Research; Map: Baidi Wang/Axios

The leaked draft of a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade — coupled with Florida's new 15-week abortion ban that takes effect July 1 — could reframe Florida's gubernatorial election.

  • All three Democrats challenging Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis used the opportunity Tuesday to blast Florida's new law and promise they'd protect women's reproductive rights.
  • "This is just Step 1 of this Radical Right agenda across our country," Ag Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried said at a well-attended impromptu rally in Miami. "And if you're not angry today, what are you waiting for?"

Yes, but: Florida has been dominated by Republican politics for 30 years — and Republican registered voters outnumber registered Democrats for the first time.

Of note: DeSantis has been silent on Twitter since the leaked ruling was published Monday night. Other Florida lawmakers reacted. Both Florida senators immediately blamed Democrats for the leak.

What they're saying: "It's going to have a profound impact on the elections this fall," former Florida governor and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) told reporters after a meeting at USF St. Petersburg yesterday. "I just wish this weren't happening to America. It's heartbreaking."

The big picture: If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortion laws and access would vary by state.

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."
  • The Florida Supreme Court has ruled this clause 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.

Meanwhile: In several recent statewide surveys, a majority of Florida voters believed abortions should generally be legal and said they opposed potential bans.

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