Florida lawmakers are reacting after the Supreme Court's decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending constitutional protections for abortion that have been in place for nearly 50 years.
With the ruling, states are now able to ban abortion. Florida is already set to ban most abortions after 15 weeks starting July 1 under a law passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in April.
ROE V. WADE LATEST
After the Supreme Court's ruling was issued Friday morning, DeSantis issued a statement in support.
"The prayers of millions have been answered. For nearly 50 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited virtually any meaningful pro-life protection, but this was not grounded in the text, history or structure of the Constitution. By properly interpreting the Constitution, the Dobbs majority has restored the people's role in our republic and a sense of hope that every life counts," DeSantis said in a statement. "Florida will continue to defend its recently-enacted pro-life reforms against state court challenges, will work to expand pro-life protections, and will stand for life by promoting adoption, foster care and child welfare."
Florida's two senators, Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, also voiced their support for the decision.
"The importance of today’s decision by the Supreme Court cannot be overstated. For nearly 50 years, our country endured flawed legal reasoning that invented an implied constitutional right to abortion while stripping authority from lawmakers according to the will of the people," Scott said in a statement. "Today, the Court correctly interpreted the Constitution, defended human dignity and the foundational principle of federalism, and rightly declared that there is no constitutional right to end the life of an unborn child."
"The Supreme Court has returned the power to regulate abortion to the states Now we need a pro-life plan for post-Roe America," Rubio tweeted with a link to an article he wrote about his proposal to "support mothers & their children not just before birth but also after."
The state's Democrats, however, denounced the Supreme Court decision.
Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings, who is running for the Democratic nomination for the senate seat held by Rubio, said the decision takes away individual freedom.
"As a woman, a mother, a woman of faith, and a former law enforcement officer, I am furious and I am disappointed but I have not despaired. I am ready to fight. We won’t go back," Demings said in a statement. "We must work relentlessly to preserve our right to choose and our right to privacy. We must protect Roe v. Wade in federal law. We cannot go back to a time when women were treated as second class citizens who don’t have control over our own bodies."
Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, said he'll sign an executive order protecting the right to choose an abortion on day one if he's elected.
“My heart is heavy for women across our country and in the Sunshine State who, with this decision, are losing their federal protections for the freedom to make their own reproductive decisions," Crist said in a statement.
Crist later called for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, claiming they lied to Congress when they testified, under oath, that in their view Roe v. Wade was settled precedent.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat and another candidate for governor, also reacted to the decision.
"Women are going to have to make some really hard decisions," Fried said. "Look, having an abortion to begin with is a really personal and hard decision for any woman to have to undertake. And now, these additional restrictions of whether or not to go to another state, have to travel, a lot of women can't leave work, may not be able to tell their significant other, or potentially their rapist, who may be a family member, that they're going and having to cross the lines of our state to get a safe abortion."
Democratic Florida Sen. Annette Taddeo also condemned the decision.
"I am terrified and hurt for my daughter and her generation that are coming of age in a time when they will have less rights and freedoms than I had. The Supreme Court's decision to strip a woman’s right to choose means the government will be making these decisions about our future," Taddeo said in a statement. "This is not only abhorrent but certainly not acceptable in a free society. In one swoop, the Supreme Court is reversing decades of established precedent for multiple generations of women while also laying the foundation to reverse additional precedents, including gay marriage. Regression like this is commonplace in fascist countries but has no place in a free and democratic society."
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson called it a "dark day in our history" for women and families.
"Let’s be clear about what abortion access means for our communities: for millions, it has meant the ability to make choices about their own bodies," Wilson's statement read. "That choice should be left to no one else but the individual who will bear the child. Not the state, not unelected judges, and certainly not male legislators who have never felt the joy, pain, and challenges that come with carrying a pregnancy to term."
Evan Jenne, the leader of Florida's House Democratic Caucus, also denounced the ruling.
"History has shown us that abortions cannot be ended by legislation. All this will do is make it harder to get a safe, legal abortion, and lead to what we saw in decades past: women sick and dying because of unsafe, underground abortions," Jenne said in a statement. "The majority of Americans, and Floridians, want there to be access to abortion services. A loud minority has pushed its extremist agenda all the way to the Supreme Court, and millions will suffer because of it."
But other Florida Republican lawmakers also voiced their support for the decision.
"Today, the Supreme Court of the United States has applied sound constitutional principles to arrive at its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization," Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart said in a statement. "This decision is long overdue. The Supreme Court is to be commended."
"The Supreme Court’s ultimate duty is to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Today, they did just that. Roe V. Wade was fundamentally wrong from the very beginning. Nowhere in the Constitution is the right to abortion declared, and as properly interpreted by the Tenth Amendment, those rights are guarded by the individual states," Congressman Carlos Gimenez said. "With this decision, abortion rights will now be properly decided by the people's elected representatives in their respective state legislatures, the place where rights not enumerated in the Constitution ought to be debated and decided."
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