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In It to Win It

(8,222 posts)
Sun Feb 25, 2024, 05:55 PM Feb 25

The Controversial Concept of 'Fetal Personhood' Is Creeping Up on Florida [View all]

The Controversial Concept of ‘Fetal Personhood’ Is Creeping Up on Florida

The national “fetal personhood” debate has arrived in Florida’s courts, and you can bet it won’t go away until it is resolved one way or another.

That became clear at recent arguments before the Florida Supreme Court on a citizens’ proposal to add broad abortion rights to the state constitution if voters approve them in November’s elections. Polls suggest Floridians support the proposal by large margins.

Currently, only the courts can block that proposal from the ballot after it gained nearly a million valid signatures. The proposal would add the core principles of Roe v. Wade to Florida law after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe two years ago. The reversal erased a ruling that fetuses constitutionally are not “persons” and left a void in its place.

At the recent arguments, Florida’s Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz repeatedly commented on whether a fetus is legally a person under existing state law. Muñiz is one of five justices added to the court by anti-abortion Gov. Ron DeSantis, creating a majority that now controls the seven-member court.

“It kind of assumes,” Muñiz said of the ballot initiative, “that the constitution as it exists right now is silent as to any rights of the unborn. And I don’t know if that assumption is correct.”
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