The Florida Supreme Court on Monday both upheld a strict abortion ban and enabled putting abortion access on the ballot in November.

In one decision, the court ruled 6-1 that a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks, signed into state law by Gov. Ron de Santis in 2022, was constitutional. That ran counter to the arguments of Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and other women’s reproductive rights and advocacy groups, which had sued on grounds that the ban violated the Constitution’s privacy clause.

“The decision is an affront to this state’s tradition of embracing a broad scope of the right of privacy,” said Justice Jorge LaBarga, who cast the one dissenting vote, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

That decision paves the way for a six-week ban — before most women know they’re pregnant — to take effect in a month.

For the previous 40 years, abortion rights were understood to fall under the privacy clause’s jurisdiction. The justices on Monday said it in fact did not, after lawyers for the state argued that voters who enacted the privacy clause in 1980 via referendum did not know it would apply to abortion. The general idea at the time, state lawyers held, was that it would cover “informational privacy” like personal records, not abortion.

Florida law passed in 2023 stipulated it would take effect 30 days after the 15-week ban was upheld, so is slated to kick in a month from now. The 15-week ban has been in effect while the court case unfolded, and for now will remain so.

That could change in November, as the judges ruled 4-3 in a separate decision that a referendum guaranteeing a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy “before viability” — which occurs at about 24 weeks — could be put on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. The referendum needs 60% of the vote to pass, according to the Sentinel.

“No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider,” reads the summary of the amendment.

The state Supreme Court ruled only on whether the amendment’s wording was clear and unambiguous, the Sentinel reported.

The issue reverberates beyond Florida, as people from throughout the South have come to rely on the Sunshine State for access, traveling from surrounding states that have strict bans on the procedure.

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