WASHINGTON — As we begin Women’s History Month, it’s sadly no surprise that Florida Republicans are continuing their relentless crusade against reproductive rights and freedom. Today, the Republican-controlled Florida Senate passed a bill to ban most abortions after 15 weeks with zero exceptions for survivors of rape, incest, or human trafficking. Governor DeSantis has already indicated his support for the legislation, saying it “makes a lot of sense” and could sign the bill into law as early as this week.
“Florida Republicans have falsely attempted to rebrand their massive assault on reproductive rights as ‘generous,’ ‘reasonable,’ and ‘making sense,’ but those are flat-out lies,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “Controlling someone else’s choices about their body and their ability to plan a family is always wrong. This 15-week abortion ban will force Floridians and those across the Southeast to travel even further for a safe and legal abortion or remain pregnant despite the many risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth, especially for Latina and Black women, who face higher maternal morbidity and mortality rates in Florida. Florida Republicans should be taking concrete steps to improve the health and safety of women like expanding Medicaid instead of putting more women at risk for death, disease, and financial hardship.”
Under this law and if the Supreme Court upholds Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, abortion access will be wiped out across the Southeast and Midwest. A Floridian would have to drive an average of 583 miles one-way to access an abortion, an increase of 4,443%. This will undoubtedly prevent women of color, poor women, and women who cannot take time off work from accessing necessary reproductive care. Moreover, this law will have serious consequences for out-of-state patients from neighboring states that have severely restricted abortion who will be forced to travel even further to access an abortion. People who are denied abortions are at greater risk for poverty and financial insecurity, domestic violence, and serious health problems.