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State Laws

Florida


Political Information

Executive (Governor)

Anti-choice

Senate

Anti-choice

House

Anti-choice

Abortion-Care Policies

Abortion Providers

Abortion Providers: Restrictions

Florida imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.  

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Florida places medically unnecessary restrictions on where abortion services may be provided.

Any facility in which abortion services are provided must obtain an "abortion clinic" license from the state and must comply with a uniquely imposed licensure scheme not required of other medical providers. Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 390.014(1), .014(3) (Enacted 1978; Last Amended 2008); Fla. Admin. Code Ann. r. 59A-9.020(1), .020(2).  Hospitals and physician’s offices are exempted from the licensure requirement, provided that the office is not used primarily for the provision of abortion care.  Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.011(2) (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 1990).  The licensing requirement has the following conditions:

Abortion clinics must maintain personal medical records of patients for a minimum of five years and they must be "systematically organized to facilitate storage and retrieval," but there is no limitation on who may have access to the records and no privacy protections are offered for patients whose records are seized.  Fla. Admin. Code Ann. r. 59A-9.031.  

In 2005, Florida adopted extensive additional new regulations that apply to providers of abortion services after the first trimester. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.012 (Enacted 2005; Last Amended 2011).

Abortion clinics are required to have a written patient transfer agreement with a hospital within "reasonable proximity" to the clinic, and physicians must have admitting privileges at a hospital within "reasonable proximity." No exception is made for rural areas, and nothing in the statute requires a hospital to agree to such an arrangement.

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.012(2), H.B.1411, 1st Reg. Sess. (2016).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Florida prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician licensed by the state in medicine or osteopathy, or practicing medicine or osteopathy and employed by the United States, may provide abortion care.  Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.0111(2) (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 1999), Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.011(7) (Enacted 1978; Last Renumbered 1998).

A court held that a previous version of this law was constitutional.  Wright v. State, 351 So. 2d 708 (Fla. 1977).


Abortion Rights

Protections: State Consitutional Protection

The Florida Constitution protects the right to choose as a fundamental right and to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution.  However, a 2004 ballot initiative amending the Florida Constitution limits this protection for minors.

Previously, the Florida Supreme Court had struck down under the state constitutional right to privacy, a law requiring either parental consent or a judicial waiver before a minor may obtain an abortion.  In re T.W., 551 So. 2d 1186 (Fla. 1989).  The Florida Supreme Court also struck down under the state’s constitutional right to privacy, a law requiring either parental notice or a judicial waiver before a minor may obtain an abortion.  N. Flor. Women’s Health & Counseling Svcs., Inc. v. State, 866 So. 2d 612 (Fla. 2003).  Similar restrictions have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court under the U.S. Constitution.  Planned Parenthood Ass’n of Kansas City v. Ashcroft, 462 U.S. 476 (1983); Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U.S. 417 (1990).

However, in response to the court’s decision in N. Flor. Women’s Health and Counseling Svcs., Inc. v. State, state legislators passed a joint resolution to amend the state constitution.  The resolution, which then became a ballot initiative approved by a majority of Florida voters in 2004, modifies the state constitution to remove this right to privacy for minors in the context of abortion.  The amendment permits the legislature to require parental notification regardless of a minor’s state constitutional right of privacy, as long as the parental-notification law provides for exceptions and a judicial bypass.  Therefore, while the constitutional amendment does not establish a parental-notification law in and of itself, the amendment permits the Florida legislature to do so without violating minors’ privacy rights.


Post-Viability Ban

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 "avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function…other than a psychological condition" or one physician certifies in writing that there is a risk to the woman’s life or the procedure is needed to avert "a serious risk of imminent substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function…other than a psychological condition," and another physician is not available.  If an abortion is provided after viability, the physician must "use that degree of professional skill, care, and diligence" most likely to preserve the life and health of the fetus. However, if that is in conflict with preserving the life and health of the woman, the physician must consider preserving the woman’s life and health the "overriding and superior concern."  Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.0111 (Enacted 1978; Last Amended 2014).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade. Regarding the right to abortion in the third trimester, Roe allows for restrictions on post-viability abortion so long as they contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman’s life and health. However, many states have bans with inadequate exceptions, no exceptions at all, or define viability as occurring at a particular point in 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 is a point that varies with each pregnancy, states may not declare that it occurs at a particular gestational age.

 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).  Additionally, the law’s health exception is dangerously narrow.  Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.0111 (Enacted 1978; Last Amended 2014).  


Abortion Bans Throughout Pregnancy: Procedure Ban

Florida has an unconstitutional and unenforceable ban that outlaws abortion procedures as early as 12 weeks.  Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 782.30 to .36 (Enacted 2000).

A court held that Florida’s ban enacted in 2000 is unconstitutional and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement.  The court held that the ban unduly burdens a woman’s right to choose before viability, has no exception to protect women’s health, and is unconstitutionally vague.  A Choice for Women v. Butterworth, No. 00-1820-CIV-LENARD/TURNOFF (S.D. Fla. July 11, 2000).  The U.S. Supreme Court previously held that a similar ban that lacks an exception to protect a woman’s health and that bans more than one procedure places an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose and is unconstitutional. Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).

Florida’s unconstitutional and unenforceable law makes any abortion procedure that falls within a broad definition a felony, unless necessary to preserve the life of a woman endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury and every reasonable precaution is taken to preserve the life of the fetus.  Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 782.30 to .36 (Enacted 2000).

In addition, a court held that Florida’s earlier ban on abortion procedures is unconstitutional and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement.  A Choice for Women v. Butterworth, 54 F. Supp. 2d 1148 (S.D. Fla. 1998).  This law makes any abortion procedure that falls within a broad definition a felony unless necessary to preserve the life of a woman endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury and no other medical procedure will suffice.  Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 390.011(6) (Enacted 1998; Last Renumbered 1998; Last Amended 1998), 390.0111(5) (Enacted 1979; Last Renumbered 1998; Last Amended 1998).

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman’s health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure.


Biased Counseling

Biased Counseling

Florida has a law that provides that a woman may not obtain an abortion until after the attending or referring physician tells her, orally and in person:  (1) the nature and risks of "undergoing or not undergoing the proposed procedure;" (2) the probable gestational age of the fetus, verified by an ultrasound; and (3) the medical risks to the woman and the fetus of carrying the pregnancy to term.  She also must be offered state-prepared materials that include a description of the fetus at various stages of development, a list of organizations that offer alternatives to abortion, and information about medical assistance benefits for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.0111(3) (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 2011). The Florida Supreme Court declared that the oral-counseling portion of the law is constitutional.  The court did not consider the constitutionality of the state-prepared materials.  State v. Presidential Women’s Ctr., No. SC04-2186 (Fla. Apr. 6, 2006).

In 2016, Florida enacted an omnibus anti-choice law that, among other things, required that any person or organization that advises women on abortion care, provide her with state-mandated information that may be misleading and medically inaccurate. If that woman is a minor, the person or organization must notify her parents. The law has been permanently enjoined. Reverend Bryan G. Fulwider, et al v. Justin Senior, et al (Dec. 2016).


Mandatory Delays

Mandatory Delay

Florida requires a woman seeking an abortion to wait at least 24 hours between the time she receives biased-counseling materials and when she can get the procedure. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.0111(3)(a) (Enacted 1998; Last Amended 2015). This law was temporarily enjoined – citing irreparable harm – which triggered a procedural response of an immediate stay under Fla Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.310(b)(2). However, a higher court stepped in and vacated the stay. The law is not in effect, as it continues to move through the courts. Gainesville Woman Care v. State of Florida, 2016 WL 1354900, Fla.    


Insurance Coverage for Abortion

Prohibits Abortion Coverage in the Insurance Exchange

Does Florida expressly prohibit plans in its state exchange from covering abortion services?

Yes.  Health-insurance policies offered in the state health-insurance exchange may not include abortion coverage if purchased in whole or in part with any state or federal funds, with exceptions only to save a woman’s life or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  Plans are considered to be purchased with state or federal funds if any tax credit or cost-sharing credit is applied toward the policy.  Nothing in the law prohibits the purchase of abortion coverage outside the exchange through an optional rider for which an additional premium is paid.  However, insurers are not required to offer such riders and there is no evidence that such separate policies exist. (Even if they did exist, offering women the "option" to pay for separate abortion coverage is a false promise because no one plans for an unplanned pregnancy.) Fla. Stat. Ann. §627.64995 (2011).


Abortion Coverage for Low-Income People

Restricts Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion

Florida prohibits public funding for abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care unless the procedure is necessary to preserve the life of a woman endangered by a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  Agency for Health Care Administration, Practitioner Services Coverage and Limitations Handbook, 2-74 (April 2014).

A court denied a request for an order stating that under the Florida Constitution, a woman eligible for state medical assistance may obtain public funds to pay for a medically necessary abortion to the same extent that funding is available for other medically necessary services generally.  Renee B. v. Florida Agency for Health Care Admin., 790 So. 2d 1036 (Fla. 2001).

Although a new lawsuit against the state’s policy was filed relating to unresolved issues, a judge dismissed the case, ruling that the policy must first be reviewed by an administrative law judge for consistency with the statute.  A Choice for Women, Inc. v. Florida Agency for Health Care Admin., No. 01-CA-2439 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Apr. 4, 2002).  A case was filed before an administrative judge who later dismissed it, ruling that the regulations and provider manual do not conflict with the statute.  A Choice for Women, Inc. v. Florida Agency for Health Care Admin., No. 02-3079 RX (Fla. Div. Admin. Hearings Oct. 17, 2002) (dismissal).  A court affirmed the decision.  A Choice for Women, Inc. v. Florida Agency for Health Care Admin., No. 3D02-3039 (Fla. 3d Dist. Ct. App. Sept. 3, 2003).


Young People & Abortion

Parental Notice

Florida law restricts young women’s access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?  Yes.

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18.

What is required – parental consent or parental notice?  Notice.

Who must be notified?  One parent.

Are there other trusted adults who may be notified instead?  No.

What is the process for providing notification?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 48 hours after actual notice is given in person or by telephone by the attending or referring physician to one parent.  If actual notice is not possible after a reasonable effort has been made, 72 hours constructive notice by certified first class mail, return receipt requested, must be given.  After 72 hours have passed, delivery is deemed to have occurred.  Parental notice is not required if it is waived in writing by the person entitled to notice.  The young woman may waive notice if she is or has been married, if she has been emancipated by a court, or if she already has a minor dependent child.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  No.  However, the young woman may try to obtain a court order allowing the abortion if she is a victim of sexual abuse.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  No.  However, the young woman may try to obtain a court order allowing the abortion if she is a victim of child abuse.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman’s health is threatened?  Yes, but only if a medical emergency exists.  A medical emergency is defined as a medical condition of the young woman that necessitates an immediate abortion to preserve her life or for which a delay will create "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."  In this instance, the parents still must be notified after the procedure.

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.

If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process?  She must secure a court order stating:  (1) by clear and convincing evidence that:  the minor is sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy; (2) by a preponderance of the evidence that there is evidence of child abuse or sexual abuse by one or both parents; or (3) by the preponderance of the evidence that parental notice is not in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  Pro-choice advocacy groups challenged the parental-notification law, which took effect on July 1, 2005, as an infringement upon the constitutional rights of both providers of abortion care and minors who seek abortion, but, in February of 2006, a federal judge upheld the law as constitutional.  WomanCare of Orlando Inc v. Agwunobi, 448 F. Supp. 2d 1309 (N.D. Fla. 2006).

In 2003, a court held that Florida’s previous parental-notification law violated minors’ state constitutional privacy rights, and deemed the law unenforceable.  Fla. Stat. Ann. §390.01115 (Enacted 1999), §390.01116 (Enacted 1999; Last Amended 2010), §1.01(13) (Original Statute Enacted 1892; Relevant Provision Enacted 1973); N. Fla. Women’s Health & Counseling Servs. v. State, 866 So. 2d 612 (Fla. 2003).  In response to the court’s decision in North Florida Women’s Health and Counseling Services v. State, state legislators passed a joint resolution to amend the state constitution.  The resolution, which then became a ballot initiative approved by a majority of Florida voters in 2004, establishes that the legislature may require parental notification without violating a young woman’s state constitutional right of privacy, as long as the parental-notification law provides for certain exceptions and a judicial bypass.  The Florida legislature established such a parental-notification law in 2005, and it was signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush in May 2005.  This act took effect on July 1, 2005.  Prior to upholding the law as constitutional, the federal judge in WomanCare of Orlando Inc v. Agwunobi had rejected a request from pro-choice advocacy groups for a preliminary injunction to stop the law from going into effect.  WomanCare of Orlando Inc v. Agwunobi, 448 F. Supp. 2d 1293 (N.D. Fla. 2005) (temporary injunction denied).

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.01114 (Enacted 2005).


Family-Planning Policies

Insurance Coverage & Contraception

No state measure.

Contraception Coverage for Low-Income People

Supports Low-Income Women’s Access to Contraception

Florida provides increased access to reproductive-health-care services through a Section 1115 family-planning waiver.  The waiver allows the state to extend eligibility for family-planning services for 24 months for women between the ages of 14 and 55 who have lost Medicaid coverage within the past two years and have incomes at or below 191 percent of the federal poverty level.  Additionally, enrollees must be (1) U.S. citizens or persons who meet the state’s defined immigration requirements and (2) Florida residents.

Beneficiaries of family-planning coverage available through the waiver are not required to pay premiums or co-payments for covered services.  Covered services include: initial and annual family-planning visits, including health history, pre-examination education, physical exam, required laboratory tests, contraceptive method selection, supplies, and post-exam interview; health information and counseling visits to discuss family-planning method chosen or available; supply visits and any prescriptions for the contraceptive method.

The waiver is set to expire on Feb.28, 2019.  

Florida Medicaid Family Planning Waiver, Project No. 11-W-00135/4, at http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/1115/downloads/fl/fl-family-planning-ca.pdf.


Emergency Contraception

No state measure.

Other Important Issues

Clinic Protections

No state measure.

Refusals & Guarantees

Refusals of Medical Care

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Florida allows certain individuals or organizations to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Hospitals, hospital staff members, persons associated with or employed by a hospital, or physician employees.

What does the refusal clause allow?  Allows hospital staff members, persons associated with or employed by a hospital, or physicians’ employees, who object on moral or religious grounds, to refuse to participate in a procedure that results in an abortion.  The refusal of a person to participate may not be a basis for disciplinary or other recriminatory action.  In addition, hospital may refuse to participate in abortion services.  The refusal of a hospital or individual to participate may not be a basis for liability.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 390.0111(8) (Enacted 1979, Amended 2011).

CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Florida allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide contraceptive procedures, supplies, or information.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Individuals, physicians, and managed-care plans.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A physician or other person may refuse to furnish any contraceptive or family-planning service, supplies, or information for religious reasons, and the physician or other person may not be held liable for such refusal.  Additionally, managed-care plans can refuse to provide family-planning services and supplies for moral or religious reasons.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Not for refusing individuals or physicians.  Managed-care plans that refuse to provide services must inform the state and potential enrollees.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for contraceptive procedures, supplies, or information?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Fla. Stat. Ann. § 381.0051 (Enacted 1972; Last Amended 2012). Fla. Stat. Ann. § 409.973 (Enacted 2011, Amended 2012).


Counseling & Referral Bans

No state measure.

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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