Florida Court Rulings Pose Risks for House Republicans on Abortion

Representative Anna Paulina Luna, a hard-right Republican from Florida, has proudly described herself as a “pro-life extremist.”

“My husband is a byproduct of rape,” she told a conservative student group in 2022, explaining her support for abortion bans with no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Nobody, she said, deserves “to be the judge, jury and executioner on whether or not he has a right to live or not.”

But the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling this week to allow a six-week abortion ban — and a second decision that would add a proposed constitutional amendment to the ballot in November overturning the ban — could pose political risks for a hard-liner like Ms. Luna. Now she and Representative María Elvira Salazar, another Republican whose Florida district is not solidly red, will have to defend their records of supporting anti-abortion measures at the national level, with control of the House at stake.

The court’s ruling said that the six-week abortion ban could go into effect on May 1. But in a twist, it is also allowing a vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee access to abortion “before viability,” around 24 weeks. The twin rulings have suddenly buoyed Democratic hopes of picking off House seats in a state that has long trended toward the right.

“Women and families across Florida are facing a backwards reality because their rights are being stripped away by far-right politicians,” said Lauryn Fanguen, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Anna Paulina Luna and María Elvira Salazar have embraced draconian laws that have forced government-mandated pregnancies — but in November, Floridians will have the opportunity to vote them and their extreme ideologies out of office and protect abortion rights.”

It’s not just Florida. The fate of reproductive rights is expected to be a major issue in House races across the country, especially for vulnerable Republicans who represent districts President Biden won in 2020. Some of those lawmakers have been struggling to appeal to conservative voters who favor severe restrictions without alienating a growing majority of voters who do not.

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