Protestors gather at the Historic Florida Capitol building following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturns abortion protections under Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. Credit: Danielle J. Brown
Amid an announcement that Vice President Kamala Harris will speak in Tallahassee on Sunday about the fight for abortion access, there’s this: House Speaker Paul Renner told reporters on Thursday that, “we have a ‘pro-life’ majority,” indicating that GOP lawmakers could easily push for further abortion bans in the 2023 legislative session.
Florida now bans abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
That said, state lawmakers have yet to introduce abortion legislation and Renner offered no details about plans to further restrict access to reproductive rights of Floridians. A Republican, Renner was asked about the issue by reporters in the state Capitol on Thursday.
“You’ll see in the coming weeks a lot of I believe very transformational legislation that’s gonna come through this year,” Renner said. “And I know that our Senate partners are working on some very transformational changes that will make the lives of Floridians better.”
Renner continued: “But life is important too, so the timing of that is yet to be determined. We have not finalized anything in that regard, and we will continue talking to our members within our majority. We have a ‘pro-life’ majority. Some of that, when you break that down, have people that want to be where we are. Some people want to be much more in the direction of life and in between. And so, we’ll respectfully continue that dialogue at some point if we have a bill.”
Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has recently reiterated her stance on abortion restrictions. She’s mentioned a preference for a 12-week ban with exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
And some state Democrats told the Florida Phoenix that Republicans will likely push for further restrictions.
“I would not be surprised if a bill is in the works,” state Sen. Shevrin Jones, or Miami-Dade County, told the Phoenix.
‘Even more extreme’
State Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat representing part of Orange County and who has served at Planned Parenthood, said in a text message to the Phoenix: “We know another even more extreme abortion ban is coming. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when and how far do they plan to go.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Harris is scheduled to deliver remarks Sunday ahead of what would have been the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which granted access to abortion care, White House officials said in a press call this week.
But the high court overturned Roe v. Wade on June, 24, 2022, led by conservative justices.
Harris’ specific location in Florida will be Tallahassee, in Florida’s state capital, according to a media advisory Thursday evening from the Office of The Vice President.
The advisory stated that “on Sunday, January 22, the Vice President will travel to Tallahassee, Florida to deliver remarks for the 50th commemoration of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. ”
The event will include the media, and additional details will follow.
Harris will be in DeSantis territory, meaning Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis oversees a GOP-controlled state in terms of the political arena. DeSantis is in the governor’s mansion and all three elected Cabinet posts are GOP. In addition, both chambers of the Florida Legislature now have GOP supermajorities.
Meanwhile, DeSantis is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2024.
Also, in a press call Thursday hosted by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, members of the Democratic Attorneys General Association, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund warned that access to abortion care is threatened by Republican lawmakers in many states.
Helene Krasnoff, vice president for public policy litigation and law at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told the Phoenix that she believes “there will be efforts to” to ban abortion by lawmakers in Florida. But there will likely be legal challenges to any further abortion bans, she said.
“It seems they are not satisfied with” the 15-week ban, Krasnoff said. “Florida has a constitutional right to privacy in their constitution that their state Supreme Court has said protects the right to choose whether or not to have children.”
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