Opening day of session: Renner wants to defend ‘life’; Passidomo doesn’t mention abortion

By: - March 7, 2023 11:13 am

Protesters gather at an anti-abortion rally in the Florida Capitol Building on May 24, 2022. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

On the first day of the 2023 legislative session, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo mentioned several legislative priorities for the Florida Senate, but she was mum on a crucial topic: further restrictions on abortion.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Renner made it clear that it will be the House of Representative’s goal to “defend the right to life,” which would likely mean imposing abortion restrictions. Currently, Florida has a 15-week abortion ban.

Renner said in his opening remarks:

“Every one of us were children once.  Our ability to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness-began with life.  We must defend the right to life for thousands of boys and girls who deserve to experience life, find love, and enrich the lives of others. Children are a blessing, not a burden.”

He then segued into discussing various tax breaks on diapers and back-to-school shopping.

Passidomo’s avoidance on abortion during her opening day speech is important because there may be a collision in what abortion restrictions should look like in the state of Florida. Many anti-abortion activists and GOP politicians would like to see additional bans.

Both opponents and supporters of abortion access anticipate a rumored 6-week abortion ban to come up during the 60-day legislative session, but details are not yet known.

There may be plans to create further abortion restrictions further into session, the Phoenix previously reported.

Andrew Shirvell, executive director for anti-abortion group Florida Voice for the Unborn, said in a press release Tuesday:

“During an exclusive February 20, 2023, meeting that Florida Voice for the Unborn Executive Director Andrew Shirvell and our grassroots supporters had with House Speaker Paul Renner (R–Palm Coast), the Speaker stated that a bill further prohibiting abortion was unlikely to be filed by a House member in the traditional manner, i.e. by the filing deadline today.  Rather, such legislation would originate sometime later in the Session as a proposed committee bill.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis has indicated that he is also interested in further restricting abortions, but he has been cautious about  articulating details,

The governor was not in attendance for the Senate President’s speech.

DeSantis was scheduled to give his State of the State address Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. and he might discuss abortion bans at that time.

On other issues, Passidomo mentioned her signature initative on affordable housing. She said her her written speech:

“Tomorrow, we will take up comprehensive legislation to create more attainable housing options for all Floridians. Senator Calatayud’s Live Local Act is geared to help Floridians at every income level and stage of life find an affordable, convenient place to live, work and raise their families. We have heard input from many Senators and from many stakeholders, and we’ve incorporated your feedback in crafting this bill.

“With this legislation all of the families, workers, law enforcement officers, teachers and so many others who are flocking to Florida from high-tax, lock down states can live conveniently close to the communities they serve. I am confident this legislation will pass tomorrow with overwhelming support. And Governor, expect to see it on your desk very soon.”

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Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.