The debate over abortion access and Florida's LGBTQ+ policies
On this week's Florida Roundup, we discuss the abortion privacy clause that's been in the state Constitution since 1989, and how Gov. DeSantis' steady stream of policies in his first term that have affected Florida’s LGBTQ+ community.
For decades, Florida’s Constitution has protected the right to terminate a pregnancy. Since 1989, the privacy clause in the state Constitution has guaranteed access to abortion. That clause has made Florida an outlier among Southeastern states, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and a number of states rushed to ban or strictly limit the procedure.
Now, though, there are signs that Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration is targeting the privacy clause. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office said late Tuesday that the Florida Supreme Court should reverse its decades-old position on abortion. Moody is making the argument that the privacy clause was not meant to protect abortion rights.
DeSantis’ election opponent, Charlie Crist, is leaning into the issue on the campaign trail, telling voters the governor wants to end abortion in the state altogether.
Florida’s Supreme Court has changed in recent years as judges have retired and the governor has replaced them with more conservative appointees.
We reached out to Moody’s office for a comment about the argument her office submitted to the Florida Supreme Court, but didn’t get a reply.
Florida’s next legislative session
Florida’s next legislative session isn’t until next spring, but when lawmakers convene in Tallahassee, they’re expected to try to tackle Florida’s ongoing property insurance crisis.
There are also rumblings that lawmakers may seek to further restrict access to abortion in the state.
- Daniel Perez, Republican state representative, future Florida House Speaker
- Judge Charles Wells, former chief justice, Florida Supreme Court
Gov. Ron DeSantis has enacted a steady stream of policies in his first term affecting Florida’s LGBTQ+ community. There are new laws dealing with everything from transgender sports and health care, to what school officials can say about sexual orientation and gender identity. The governor’s approach has energized his supporters.
A recent University of North Florida/USA TODAY Network Florida survey found that 81% of Florida Republicans “strongly support” DeSantis’ focus on cultural issues, including those touching on LGBTQ+ issues.
This has left many LGBTQ+ Floridians and their allies feeling like DeSantis is engaging in a toxic form of politics that scapegoats and demonizes marginalized people. Florida also has a long history of discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. DeSantis' critics say his policies are invoking a painful time in Florida’s past.
Guests: Zac Anderson, reporter, USA Today Network
Copyright 2022 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.