Some 8,000 protestors on both sides of the abortion issue paraded for legislators who convened a special session of the FL Legislature in 1989. Photo by Mark Foley. State Library & Archives of Florida.
Florida’s passage of a 15-week abortion ban now headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk is drawing national attention, sparking concern from the Biden administration in Washington D.C. to Democrats and abortion rights advocates across the country fighting to preserve women’s reproductive rights.
The Florida Senate voted Thursday night to approve HB 5, which would prohibit a physician from terminating most abortions after 15 weeks, without an exception for rape and incest.
On Friday morning, President Joe Biden got involved.
“Last night, the Republican-controlled Florida legislature passed a dangerous bill that will severely restrict women’s access to reproductive health care. My Administration will not stand for the continued erosion of women’s constitutional rights,” the president said via Twitter.
Abortion rights groups and many Democrats in both the House and Senate had been pushing back on the ban and presented amendments but to no avail – one of the most controversial issues during the 2022 legislative session. The only exception in the bill is for fatal fetal deformities.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee called the ban “an appalling and extreme attack on reproductive rights,” according to a press release Friday.
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post said in a written statement:
“Florida Republicans steamrolled this abortion ban through the legislature, ignoring widespread outrage from Floridians, the personal experiences of sexual assault survivors, and criticism from health care experts and providers. Their goal is indisputably clear: not health and safety, but cruelty and control of others’ bodies, lives, and futures.”
Planned Parenthood groups across Florida criticized the 15-week abortion ban approved by the Senate and headed to DeSantis, saying that the ban “will fundamentally alter abortion access across the region.”
“Banning abortion is not what Floridians want. Every poll shows a majority of Floridians are against a 15-week abortion ban. Why do some politicians think they are better equipped to make medical decisions about someone’s pregnancy than the pregnant person, their family, and their doctor?” Stephanie Fraim, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said in a statement.
In another statement: “The bill passed by the Florida Legislature is unpopular and unconstitutional, and it will make the most difficult situations for pregnant people even more challenging,” said Lillian Tamayo, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida. “Governor DeSantis likes to talk about the ‘free state of Florida.’ If that isn’t just rhetoric, he’ll veto this attack on our most fundamental freedom of all — the right to control our own bodies.”
Meanwhile, a decision is looming in the U.S. Supreme Court involving a 15-week Mississippi ban under review by the justices. Florida has followed in Mississippi’s footsteps.
In Florida, GOP lawmakers have a history of pushing restrictions to legal access to abortion services, threatening the protections under Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that allowed abortions.
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