WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled Florida House just passed a bill to ban most abortions after 15 weeks without even providing exceptions for survivors of rape, incest or human trafficking – an outrageous attack on the reproductive health of millions of Floridians. HB 5 mirrors the Mississippi law currently before the Supreme Court and legislation passed by the Arizona Senate and West Virginia House of Delegates yesterday. This legislation falls far short of the 24-week standard set by Roe v. Wade that is supported by the majority of the American people.
Although Republican Representative Dana Trabulsy callously described the bill as “generous” because she believes that life begins at conception, that couldn’t be further from the truth: the right to decide whether to have a child shouldn’t be determined by the whims of elected officials. Creating medically-unnecessary hurdles to access reproductive care and forcing someone to carry a dangerous or unwanted pregnancy is not “generous” or “very reasonable.” In fact, people who are denied abortions are at greater risk for poverty and financial insecurity, domestic violence, and serious health problems.
“Let’s be clear: taking away Floridians’ fundamental rights is not ‘generous’ – it’s reprehensible,” said DLCC vice president of communications Gabrielle Chew. “Once again, Republicans are failing to rely on medical experts to guide policy, despite the millions of lives that hang in the balance. Voters across the political spectrum are appalled by state Republicans’ offensive and depraved tactics to roll back reproductive rights and will respond at the polls by generously voting them out.”
The effects of state laws like HB 5 aren’t simply limited to Florida’s borders. Currently, Florida is the only state south of Virginia and east of New Mexico that doesn’t require patients to receive an initial consultation at least 24 hours before their abortion. If HB 5 becomes law, out-of-state patients who cannot afford to take off additional time from work, pay for lodging, or access necessary transportation may be unable to receive their desired reproductive care.