Tampa Bay Rep. Kathy Castor disagrees with Florida Supreme Court's 'stalling tactics' in abortion rights decision

Congresswoman Castor said it’s disturbing that the court has been so slow in announcing both abortion decisions

click to enlarge Hillsborough County Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor speaking at a press conference on Medicaid expansion in Tampa on March 27, 2024. - Photo via Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix
Photo via Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix
Hillsborough County Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor speaking at a press conference on Medicaid expansion in Tampa on March 27, 2024.
Count U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor among Floridians disappointed that the Florida Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on two major issues regarding abortion rights.

Start with the much-anticipated decision about whether a constitutional amendment on abortion rights will be on the ballot this November.

The high court informed the public shortly after 11 a.m. on Thursday that there would not be any legal opinions released that day, despite rampant speculation that the time to decide would finally be at hand. At about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the court reported on X that the Florida Supreme Court will release “out-of-calendar opinions” at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 1, 2024.

That could mean an abortion ruling related to a constitutional amendment on abortion rights as well as an amendment on adult use of recreational cannabis.

In addition, it’s also been more than six months since the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the legal challenge to the 15-week abortion ban that was passed in 2022. If the high court affirms the law, a six-week ban would shortly go into effect.

Congresswoman Castor, a Democrat from the Tampa Bay area, said it’s disturbing that the court has been so slow in announcing both abortion decisions.
“Florida has an expressed right to privacy in our Constitution,” she noted while speaking to the Florida Phoenix on Wednesday in Tampa. “And the fact that the Florida Supreme Court has not reaffirmed that already with the 15-week abortion ban, the six-week abortion ban, and now it seems like just stalling on allowing a new constitutional amendment for a right to privacy and reproductive care. It’s a cause of great concern. It’s very antidemocratic, first not to recognize what our right to privacy means that’s already existing, but not to get this amendment on the ballot in time for us to really raise the funds and do a robust campaign. I don’t approve of their stalling tactics.”

Castor, now serving her 18th year in Congress after being elected in 2006, has always been a fierce advocate for abortion rights. She says that the hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the future of medication abortion access and abortion pills that took place earlier this week was extremely concerning and says that it reveals that the anti-abortion movement is not resting following the stunning Dobbs decision in 2022 overturning a woman’s federal right to an abortion after 49 years.

“It’s very alarming because after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade’s longstanding precedent, a lot of the folks in Congress and across the country said ‘Oh, we’re going to send this back to the states, we’re not interested in a federal abortion ban.’ But the fact that they’re trying to rip away our ability to access a safe and effective drug? It pulls the curtain back on that argument,” she said.

“Meanwhile, they really do want to institute federal abortion bans in one way or another,” Castor continues. “While they don’t talk about it and they’re scared of it and they say, ‘Oh we like in vitro fertilization’ — it’s efforts like this that kind of belie the fact that they’re not on your side. They want to roll back our rights and we have to stand up for it, so hopefully the U.S. Supreme Court does the right thing here because I think what got to them was it would overturn long standing processes for all drugs that go through the Food and Drug Administration approval process, and I think that was even for the U.S. Supreme Court that was too much.”

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

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