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The future of abortion in Florida and the role of religion in this debate, Undies for Everyone

Rallies at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021.
Allison Bailey
Rallies at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2021.

What the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion will mean for Florida. Plus, the role religion plays in the debate on abortion access. And tens of thousands of children in Florida are experiencing homelessness. We’ll meet the founder of a non-profit working to get these kids new underwear.

On this Monday, June 27, edition of Sundial:

The future of abortion in Florida

A few days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, people await what that will mean for abortion access in Florida.

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The court’s decision gives states total authority to regulate abortion access.

“It's not quite that simple because, in addition to federal law, there is also state law. And Florida's own constitution actually has an explicit right to privacy. And the [state’s] Supreme Court has incorporated the right to privacy to protect abortion … at least as the courts have interpreted it up to now,” said University of Miami law professor Caroline Mala Corbin on Sundial. She focuses on advanced topics in reproductive rights.

That amendment in the state constitution guarantees the right to privacy. In 1989, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that the privacy clause covers the right to an abortion. This most recent decision by the country’s highest court could lead to a challenge to that amendment.

“We must be very clear. Dobbs [v. Jackson Women's Health Organization] didn't declare whether or not abortion is just or proper or legal or illegal — it simply and properly states that a right to abortion must be addressed by each state … So do I expect the Florida Supreme Court decision or even the Florida Constitution to eventually be challenged? Yeah, I do. And that's precisely where and how the law should be addressed,” said Dr. Steven Christie on Sundial. He is a physician in South Florida and an attorney and member of the Florida Bar. He authored a book titled “Speaking for the Unborn.”

On Friday, Florida’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks is set to take effect. There have been lawsuits filed to challenge that ban in court and attempt an injunction to at least postpone that law going into effect.

The future of abortion in Florida
Abortion rights supporters took to the streets across South Florida to protest the U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion.

The role of religion in the abortion debate

Religion plays a big role in the debate on abortion.

There are those who believe that a woman has a right to choose an abortion and those who believe that life begins at conception. And of course, both people of faith and non-religious people can be found on both sides.

Still, religion — in particular, the Catholic Church — has been one of the forces pushing for more restrictions or an end to abortion.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski with the Miami Archdiocese, which encompasses the Roman Catholic church in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties, joined Sundial to discuss how he received the news.

“I was very happy with the news. Again, it's something that's been long waited for,” he said. “We welcome it with some joy. Although, at the same time, we recognize that what the courts did was not to outlaw abortion because abortion is still legal in this state and in many others.”

Polls show a majority of U.S. Catholics support some abortion rights.

“The lived experience of Catholics needs to be highlighted and spotlighted in this conversation. And so when we think about the people that we know and love in our homes, in our workplaces, there is somebody close to us that is a faithful believer, and they've had abortions,” said Gloria Romero Roses, a Miami entrepreneur who’s on the Florida Board of the organization “Catholics for Choice.”

The archdiocese is responding to the overturning of Roe v. Wade by continuing its Respect Life Ministry, which offers pregnant women free and confidential services as well as post-abortion counseling.

The role of religion in the abortion debate
Catholics at an anti-abortion demonstration in Washington D.C. last year.

Undies for Everyone

There are tens of thousands of youth in Florida who are experiencing homelessness. They’re living with friends, and other relatives, sometimes in a hotel — sometimes in a car.

There are roughly 79,000 in this situation, according to the Student Homelessness Report of 2020.

One group from Texas has been expanding its reach to get kids in need new underwear.

The non-profit called Undies for Everyone is led by Rabbi Amy Cohen Weiss. For a couple of years, they’ve expanded to other cities, including Miami.

Recently, Weiss was honored as a CNN Hero for helping distribute new underwear — 2 million pairs to more than 16 cities. She joined Sundial to discuss where this idea originated from and the impact it's had.

Undies for Everyone

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, leads the WLRN Newsroom as Director of Daily News & Original Live Programming. Previously she reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News.