It’s rare that so much changes so fast. After the United States Supreme Court overturned the national right to an abortion with the Dobbs case, the procedure will be left up to the individual state’s lawmakers.
This will impact Florida, which has the third-highest abortion rate in the country. With abortion near completely illegal in many Southern states and a big change coming to Georgia, Florida may see women traveling to the state to get an abortion.
Women in Florida get roughly 70,000 to 80,000 abortions a year, according to documents from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. The vast majority of those abortions are performed by Florida women.
By far, the most common reason is “due to social economic reasons” according to state documents. Social and economic reasons are around ten times more common than the second most common reason, which is “due to emotional/psychological health of the mother.”
According to the latest CDC numbers from 2019, Florida by far leads the southeast in the number of abortions performed with 71,914. Georgia comes in second with almost half that number at 36,907. Alabama women had 6,009 abortions in 2019; South Carolina women had 5,101; and Mississippi had 3,194.
Roe V. Wade Overturned
Historically, Georgia has been the state where “out-of-state” southern women go for abortions. According to the documents, 6,500 traveled to Georgia to get an abortion, while 2,256 women traveled to Florida to have an abortion.
That trend may change because the Supreme Court just removed the hurdle stopping Georgia’s new “heartbeat” law from taking effect. So it’s current ban on abortions after 20 weeks will likely soon become a ban after six or seven weeks once the court system clears out.
The other state bordering Florida - Alabama - has a near total ban on abortions now the “trigger law” is taking effect.
“Women from that state may well travel to Florida, which is about to have a 15-week ban. But that allows for first trimester abortions,” said Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy from Stetson University.
Depending on court cases and the results of elections, Florida’s 15-week ban could become a lower measure in the future if state lawmakers decide to pass more abortion restrictions. A future Florida Supreme Court appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis may also have a different interpretation of Florida’s constitution protecting the right to an abortion in its privacy clause.
The state’s new law banning abortions after 15-weeks is being argued in a Leon County courtroom.
“Just as the US Supreme Court overruled its precedent with the Dobbs case, it’s possible that if Florida banned abortion, that the Florida Supreme Court would also overrule its own precedent,” Torres-Spelliscy said.
According to data from the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, one out of every three abortions are performed in the South Florida counties of Miami-Dade and Broward.
In 2021, Florida women had 79,817 abortions according to the documents and 25,421 were performed in the two southeast counties with large populations and many abortion clinics.
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