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Next Abortion Battleground: Arcane World of State Constitutions

A slew of lawsuits has attorneys zeroing in on state charters conferring privacy, health rights

Demonstrators protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, in Miami, Florida, on June 24. 

Demonstrators protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, in Miami, Florida, on June 24. 

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Deep inside Florida’s constitution, tucked among rules about the size of fishing nets and where slot machines can be installed, there’s a provision that abortion-rights advocates say could keep the procedure legal there.

The Sunshine State guarantees the right to privacy in its charter. Everyone, the text reads, “has the right to be let alone and free from government intrusion into the person’s private life.” This week, a state judge citing that language blocked a ban on abortions past 15 weeks of pregnancy. An appeal from the state automatically put that decision on hold, allowing the abortion ban to take effect for now.