TAMPA, Fla. — A leaked draft opinion suggests that the U.S. Supreme Court plans to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that effectively legalized most abortions nationwide.
> DEEPER DIVE: For a refresher, click here to read our previous coverage about what Roe v. Wade actually did.
Although the draft does not represent any final decision, news of the leaked document, first reported Monday night by Politico, puts the future of abortion rights in the U.S. on shaky ground.
A decision to overrule Roe v. Wade would certainly have huge ramifications across the country, but it wouldn't affect all states in the same way.
Several states have what's known as "trigger bans" in place, meaning an overturn of Roe v. Wade would effectively trigger an automatic abortion ban. These states include Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
Lawmakers in some states like Idaho are considering "heartbeat bills" like the one already in effect in Texas that effectively bans abortions after six weeks, which is before some women even know they're pregnant. Other policymakers have approved laws to protect abortion rights in their states without relying on the Roe decision.
So, where does Florida stand in all of this?
Current Florida law allows abortions up to 24 weeks, but last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial bill banning most abortions after 15 weeks, with few exceptions — not including rape, incest or trafficking. As it stands, that law is set to take place on July 1, though it is facing some legal challenges.
"We are here today to protect life," DeSantis said during the bill signing in April. "We are here today to defend those who cannot defend themselves."
A Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe would solidify the state's position that this new Florida law, as well as a similar Mississippi law, was constitutional. This would firm it up, allow it to stay in place and open the door to future restrictions.
If things go the other way, Florida's law could still be deemed unconstitutional in the event that the Supreme Court decided to uphold Roe v. Wade, though proponents of the state law don't necessarily think it violates the framework established by Roe v. Wade in the first place (explainer here). The nation's highest court is expected to rule on the case before its term ends in late June or early July.
DeSantis stood by his pro-life stance while weighing in on the news of the leaked draft opinion at a news conference on Tuesday.
“I’m somebody that believes in pro-life protections," the governor said.
He added that he believes Florida's 15-week abortion ban is "fully-consistent with the federal constitution. DeSantis acknowledged that the law will likely be challenged under the Florida constitution, but said he's confident it will remain in place.