That’s A Crime?–Advertising Drugs, etc., for Abortion

This blog is the first in a series dedicated to obscure and perhaps unknown Florida criminal laws.

Did you know it is illegal in Florida to advertise for abortion?  The statute is 797.02 (Fla. Stat.), which states:

Whoever knowingly advertises, prints, publishes, distributes or circulates, or knowingly causes to be advertised, printed, published, distributed or circulated, any pamphlet, printed paper, book, newspaper notice, advertisement, or reference containing words or language giving or conveying any notice, hint, or reference to any person, or the name of any person, real or fictitious, from whom, or to any place, house, shop, or office where any poison, drug, mixture, preparation, medicine, or noxious thing, or any instrument or means whatever, or any advice, direction, information, or knowledge may be obtained for the purpose of causing or procuring the miscarriage of any woman pregnant with child, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

The legislature deemed this crime to be a first degree misdemeanor, which means it carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in county jail and/or $1,000.00 fine.

Background

Interestingly, this law first took effect in 1868.  It’s gone through several amendments, the last of which occurred in 1971, and has once again fallen under the eye of the legislature.  In fact, there are current attempts being made to repeal or modify this Florida law.  (To see the Senate Bill 1748 proposing repeal, go here.)

Application

While researching this statute in Westlaw, I learned that the law has not been applied in state court decisions, at least not at the appellate level.  However, when exploring the internet trying to find when/where this law has been applied, I did find this.

(Disclaimer: This blog is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

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