The Florida Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021. Credit: Michael Moline/Florida Phoenix
Here’s a roundup of reaction from Florida’s political leaders to the Politico publication of a draft U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe. v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. If adopted by the court, such a ruling would allow states to ban or limit abortion rights.
Gov. Ron DeSantis had no immediate response. “We don’t have a statement on the leaked draft obtained by a news organization last night,” his spokeswoman, Christina Pushaw, told the Phoenix by email.
These comments were gleaned from news releases and tweets.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R):
“The next time you hear the far left preaching about how they are fighting to preserve our Republic’s institutions & norms remember how they leaked a Supreme Court opinion in an attempt to intimidate the justices on abortion.”
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R):
“The Supreme Court’s confidential deliberation process is sacred & protects it from political interference. This breach shows that radical Democrats are working even harder to intimidate & undermine the court. It was always their plan. The justices cannot be swayed by this attack.”
U.S. Rep. Val Demings, Democrat running against Rubio:
As a woman of faith, I believe in the dignity and worth of every person. That’s why I will always defend a woman’s right to choose her own destiny.
“Today the Senate will vote on whether to protect Roe v. Wade in federal law. Pay close attention to who chooses which future.”
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, Democratic candidate for governor:
“The women of our country are under direct attack by right-wing radicals. Overturning our freedom over our bodies is unconstitutional, unacceptable, and taking us back to a dark, dark time. If they can control our bodies, what do we have left? If this ruling is published, it simply cannot stand and I will do whatever it takes to protect the women of Florida.”
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, Democratic candidate for governor:
“This is a gut wrenching day for women and reproductive freedom in our country. The Supreme Court’s decision will mean that the fight for a woman’s right to choose will be left up to each state to decide. Now, more than ever, we need to fight tirelessly to protect a woman’s right to choose. The stakes in this election could not be higher.
“Early in my career, I was faced with the decision to protect a woman’s right to make decisions over her body. And I stood firmly alongside women – I stopped a bill in the state Senate that would required a 24-hour waiting period for those seeking an abortion.
“I believed back then, as I do now, that the government should have no place in telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. That’s why as your governor, I vetoed an anti-abortion bill. And I’ll do it again.
“Right now, Congress must take action to codify Roe v. Wade into law before reproductive rights are ripped away from millions. As a member of the House of Representatives, I proudly joined my colleagues in voting to make Roe v. Wade law, but now it’s time for the Senate to act. The Senate must take this up immediately, and if need be, end the filibuster to ensure its passage. The time to fight on behalf of all women is now.”
Note: Fried has attacked Crist in the past for pitching himself while still in the Republican party as “pro-life,” as the Florida Politics news site reported in September. “I’m the only candidate running for governor in Florida that’s been pro-choice my whole life and never sacrificed women’s health for political gain,” she tweeted at the time.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis (R):
“Roe V. Wade was a travesty, both morally and constitutionally. Overturn it! Pay close attention to all those blue checks who said we need to respect American institutions and were concerned about the ‘norms’ during Trump. They were all lying. Hypocrisy will be front and center.”
Manny Diaz, Florida Democratic Party chairman:
“This is what Republicans stand for. By overturning Roe v. Wade, they are severely limiting women’s rights to control their own bodies and make their own health care decisions. If this report is true, the Supreme Court’s decision will only embolden extremist Republicans to continue attacking the right to choose nationwide. Florida Democrats are determined to fight back against every effort to do so.”
Republicans like Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio have long campaigned on overturning Roe v. Wade and banning abortion. Just last month, Florida Republicans began to wage an all-out war on reproductive rights in Florida with an extreme 15-week abortion ban, even refusing to create exemptions for survivors of rape, incest, and human trafficking.
“Elections have consequences, and the Supreme Court has made the stakes of this year’s elections painfully clear: We must elect Democrats at every level who will protect our reproductive freedom and vote out the Republicans who are trying to roll back our rights.”
State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orange County:
“Based on the makeup and political ideology of the newest Supreme Court of the United States justices who heard oral arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, I can say that I am not surprised by this draft majority opinion but still find it chilling and destructive to women’s equality and to the rights of all Americans.
“In fact, Justice Alito’s draft opinion not only dismantles the protections established under Roe v. Wade but he explicitly criticizes Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges, saying that like abortion these decisions protect illegitimate rights that are not ‘deeply rooted in history.’
“This should be a wake up call to Americans everywhere — none of our rights are guaranteed, we have to fight for them and fight to protect them. That means voting at every level, defending bodily autonomy and helping those who are most marginalized be able to access abortion. It is important for patients to know that abortion is still legal, that this SCOTUS decision is not final and even if it is it will be a catalyst of different outcomes in every state. Abortion funds are here to help, and Florida funds can be identified via this link.
“This SCOTUS decision will bring all abortion rights to a state level; we will not have a federal legal firewall, which also means that Congress must act immediately to codify the protections established by Roe v. Wade and we must elect leaders this election cycle who are committed to that goal.
“As someone who has dedicated more than a decade of her life’s work to reproductive freedom, I can say unequivocally that we will not give up — I refuse to go back in time to a period where women and pregnant people could not make decisions about their futures and their destinies. America is known around the globe as the land of the free, and I will not stop fighting until that freedom is guaranteed for all.”
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