Abortion rights activists rally outside the US Supreme Court
IBTimes US

The Florida Supreme Court on Monday cleared the path for the implementation of the state's six-week abortion ban, while giving Floridians an opportunity to vote on whether to include abortion protections in the state's constitution.

The state's Supreme Court upheld the state's existing 15-week abortion ban, thereby activating a six-week abortion ban passed by the state legislators last year. The law will be implemented within 30 days.

However, the court also approved the language of a proposed state constitutional amendment aimed at safeguarding the right to abortion in Florida. This allows the amendment to be placed on the ballot for the upcoming November elections. If ratified by voters, this could potentially nullify both bans. But Florida constitutional amendments need the support of at least 60% of voters to be implemented.

The law also allocated $25 million in annual state funding for crisis pregnancy centers, which are aimed at discouraging individuals from seeking abortions.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed the six-week ban into law last year, just before he announced his presidential run.

Five out of the seven justices currently serving on the Florida Supreme Court were appointed by DeSantis, with several having strong ties to the anti-abortion movement.

The conservative-leaning majority of the court, in their decision to uphold the existing ban, said the state's constitutional right to privacy does not extend to abortion. "We conclude there is no basis under the Privacy Clause to invalidate the statute," Justice Jamie Grosshans wrote.

"In doing so, we recede from our prior decisions in which — relying on reasoning the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected — we held that the Privacy Clause guaranteed the right to receive an abortion through the end of the second trimester," Grosshans stated.

The six-week abortion ban, with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies, and medical emergencies, is expected to severely restrict abortion access in the South, while intensifying the pressure on abortion clinics throughout the nation.

Virginia is now the only state in the Southern region permitting abortions beyond the initial trimester.

More than 84,000 people underwent abortions in Florida last year, surpassing the numbers recorded in nearly any other state and significantly exceeding previous reports from any of the 17 states that have currently implemented full or partial abortion bans.