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Post-Viability Abortion Restriction

Florida's post-viability restriction states that no abortion may be provided in the third trimester unless two physicians certify in writing that it is necessary to preserve the woman's life or health.  If an abortion is provided during viability, the physician must "use that degree of professional skill, care, and diligence" most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus except that "the woman's life and health shall constitute an overriding and superior consideration to the concern for the life and health of a fetus when such concerns are in conflict."  Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.0111 (Enacted 1978; Last Amended 2011).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortion, such as Florida's, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman's life and health.  NARAL Pro-Choice America opposes Florida's law because it is unconstitutional to the extent that it prohibits pre-viability abortion by defining viability at the third trimester of pregnancy.  A state may not prohibit abortion prior to viability, which is that point at which a fetus is capable of "meaningful life" outside a woman's body.  Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 163 (1973).  Because viability varies with each pregnancy, states may not declare that it occurs at a particular gestational age.  Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U.S. 379, 388-89 (1979).

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