In less than a year, Florida has moved from a 15-week abortion ban to the passage of one of the most restrictive bans in the nation — a 6-week abortion ban.
The state House approved the legislation after at least six hours of questions, amendments, debate, protests and a final vote that will clear the way for Gov. Ron DeSantis to consider the bill. The Senate had already approved the ban earlier in April.
The pivotal piece of legislation is already garnering attention and scrutiny, including from the Biden administration.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre provided a statement that includes:
“Florida’s Republican supermajority-controlled legislature sent an extreme and dangerous new abortion ban to Governor DeSantis’s desk for signature. The ban flies in the face of fundamental freedoms and is out of step with the views of the vast majority of the people of Florida and of all the United States.”
“This ban would prevent four million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks — before many women even know they’re pregnant. This ban would also impact the nearly 15 million women of reproductive age who live in abortion-banning states throughout the South, many of whom have previously relied on travel to Florida as an option to access care.”
The House chamber adopted the Senate’s version of the bill, SB 300, and the legislation was approved 70 to 40, with several Republican House members voting against the bill, and nine lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — who didn’t vote.
Most of the lawmakers who spoke in favor of the legislation were men.
Only four women argued in support of the bill — and two of them sponsored the legislation in the House.
The legislation has exceptions for victims of rape, incest and human trafficking. Those victims would be subjected to the 15-week timeframe that Florida law currently imposes to terminate the pregnancy.
The 6-week abortion ban has other restrictions: People would have to obtain an abortion in the presence of a physician, even for medically-induced abortions, creating additional hurdles for people seeking an abortion within the proposed six-week time frame.
Telehealth services to obtain an abortion, even medically-induced abortions, are prohibited. Patients could not receive medically-induced abortions through the mail either.
Black women discuss abortion
Rep. Kiyan Michael, a Republican who represents part of Duval County, was one of the only woman who stood up and voiced her support of the legislation during the hours of debate. She is a Black woman and said that she finds it appalling that people are fighting to “continue exterminating, to continue killing Black babies” through abortions.
“‘A woman’s right to choose’ — I’ve heard people talk about that. Well, that right to choose begins before you have sex. It should not be after you have sex,” Michael said. “I’ve heard… ‘abortion is health care,’ but how does health care end with a dead baby? Makes absolutely no sense.”
The House Democrat leader, Rep. Fentrice Driskell, also a Black woman, argued in favor of abortion access.
“As a Black woman, who’s also heard those old-tired arguments — that abortion is a way to suppress the Black population – no, no, it’s not any of that,” Driskell said in opposition of the bill.
“Abortion’s health care. Plain and simple. Health care that women enjoyed the right to for over 50 years. It was protected for 50 years. It was nearly 50-years protected…until the Supreme Court threw it out. Regardless of how you feel on this issue as Americans, we should all be concerned. When we have a Supreme Court taking rights away, I’m concerned about the direction that this nation is heading in.”
Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, a Democrat who represents part of the Tampa Bay area, said that reproductive justice and abortion helps women have the right to either have children, or not.
“Reproductive justice is the belief that all women and birthing people have the right to have children. Have the right not to have children,” said Rep. Rayner-Goolsby. “Have the right to nurture that child and have the right to nurture that child in a safe healthy environment. With this bill we are removing people’s bodily autonomy and making decisions about one of the most personal health care situations.”
Rep. Dana Trabulsy, a Republican who represents part of St. Lucie County, spoke in support of SB 300. She briefly discussed the regret she’s felt about her seeking abortion when she was younger, a story that she told lawmakers in 2022 when the Legislature approved Florida’s current 15-week abortion ban.
“My own story was about my own regret with my own decision to have an abortion, when I was younger…when I made the wrong decision and I live with that regret every day. And I’m not gonna retell that story again, but what I am gonna tell you is since I told that story last year, I cannot even count the number of emails I’ve gotten, the number of phone calls I’ve taken, and the number I’ve doors I knocked on during election time, where women have opened up to me and told me a story similar.”
Rep. Kelly Skidmore, a Democrat who represents part of Palm Beach County, urged lawmakers to stay out of personal medical decisions of those who are pregnant.
“I have a story and it’s my story — and quite frankly it’s none of your business, and I don’t need to share it with you to make it real, because it’s real to me,” Rep. Skidmore said.
“I don’t need your advice on my personal health care choices. I don’t want or need your presence in my exam room. My sisters don’t want your advice or presence in their exam room. And my daughter doesn’t want your advice or presence in her exam room,” she added.
“We don’t need your help putting on our paper gowns. We don’t need your help putting our feet in ice cold stirrups. I don’t need you peering over my shoulder or peeking under the sheet. Don’t want an abortion? Don’t have one. Keep your sanctimonious opinions for your own family and stay out of mine. Save your Bible verses for teaching your own family and stay out of mine, and I’ll stay out of yours,” Skidmore continued.
Restricting rights or preserving ‘life’?
Rep. Felicia Robinson, a South Florida Democrat, “I’m speaking to all the women — not just here, in this chamber — that’s in Florida. Are we truly trying to go back? If they take this right away from us, who’s to say they’re not going to say that we don’t have the right to vote one day? Or we don’t have the right to go to work one day?”
“You know, there was a time when they wanted a woman to be — what? Barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen. We’re not going back. So you best watch out, because it always starts with one thing.”
Rep. Marie Paule Woodson, a South Florida Democrat, argued that if a women can carry a child, why can’t she make her own decisions regarding abortion and pregnancy?
“I believe that I can make a decision for myself, because I came to this United States by myself,” Woodson argued. She was born in Port-de-Paix, Haiti, according to the House of Representatives website.
“I am deeply offended by the fact that we are sitting here thinking that a woman cannot decide for herself. That a daughter cannot decide for herself,” Woodson said. “I have a 22-year-old daughter. Guess what? She is very smart. She’s very bright and she knows, if facing a similar situation, she will be able to decide for herself. I, as a mother, won’t even interfere, because she’s 22 and she can make that decision for herself.”
Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, a Republican who carried the bill in the House, said that the Florida Legislature has “the opportunity to lead the national debate about the importance of protecting life and giving every child the opportunity to be born and find his or her purpose.”
“For the past 50 years, we’ve had a culture grow in this nation — a culture of abortion, for any reason, at any time,” she said.
“This culture refuses to discuss when is the life of an unborn child important? When does his or her life matter? This culture refuses to discuss… that abortions can have serious repercussions on the women who undergo the procedure especially later in term,” Persons-Mulicka claimed. “It is physically dangerous and is mentally and psychologically dangerous to these women. Well, today as a woman, as a mother, as a sister, as a friend, as a legislator — I stand in front of you and I choose to lead.”
Who didn’t vote:
Fabián Basabe, Republican, representing part of Miami-Dade County.
Robert Charles “Chuck” Brannan III, Republican, representing the counties of Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Union, and Part of Alachua.
Kimberly Daniels, Democrat, representing part of Duval County.
Dotie Joseph, Democrat, representing part of Miami-Dade County.
Traci Koster, Republican, representing part of Hillsborough County.
Fiona McFarland, Republican, representing part of Sarasota County.
James Vernon “Jim” Mooney, Jr., Republican, representing Monroe County and part of Miami-Dade County.
Paula A. Stark, Republican, representing parts of Orange, Osceola counties
Cyndi Stevenson, Republican, part of St. Johns County.
Republicans against the bill:
Michael Caruso, Republican, representing part of Palm Beach County
Karen Gonzolez Pittman, Republican, representing part of Hillsborough County
Peggy Gossett-Seidman, Republican, representing part of Palm Beach County
Sam Killebrew, Republican, representing part of Polk County
Chip LaMarca, Republican, representing part of Broward County
Vicki Lopez, Republican, representing part of Miami-Dade County
Rick Roth, Republican, representing part of Palm Beach County
Tony Mack says
The Tallahassee Taliban strikes again. Republicans essentially telling women — “You are not capable of making your own medical decisions; therefore, we will do it for you. It is up to us to decide when and how you will get medical care and if you don’t do as we say, we will punish you.”
Lowering insurance costs, rebuilding roads and bridges, providing medical care for people under expanding Medicaid — can’t be bothered. The Taliban and the Tallahassee Tyrant have other priorities and those do not include taking care of the basic needs of Americans.
Instead, they focus on drag queens, Disney, LGBQT issues, more guns for everyone, and initiating obstacles for voting.
This is only the beginning, folks. If they can take away a woman’s right to her own medical decisions, they can take away each and every other right you think you have…except of course to own a semi-automatic assault weapon. Social Security, Medicare, VA, Medicaid — none of them are now safe. from these lawless predators.
People should always fear politicians who promise them “Freedom and Liberty”; they will be the very people who will take away both from you — and you won’t even know they’ve done it — until it is too late.
The anti-abortion Righties are hard at work, wrapping themselves in their moral rectitude, as usual. It’s all good, since they have a super-majority in the legislature and a governor who is hell bent on being POTUS and will do ANYTHING to reach his lofty goal. It’s all good, that is, until one of THEIR loved ones needs an abortion. Then, they will use a back channel abortion route that is available to all well-connected elitist Righties, right — no poor minorities need apply.
It does allow abortion for select cases. As a person who is against abortion, I would NOT find a back channel route and neither would others.
you all scream gun control when people are killed but none of you stand up for babies who are killed. Why? They have the right to life if they have a beating heart. You all scream autonomy over a woman’s body- where’s the autonomy for the baby?
Don’t want to get pregnant? Use multiple forms of birth control.
Excuse me for correcting your legal misinformation Suzie, but a fetus is NOT a baby until birth. Having a legal abortion is no different legally than a miscarriage, despite what the extreme right-wingers try to misinform everyone into believing is somehow a “murder”. It is an easy test to tell if a fetus is a human being, a baby. Can the pregnant female obtain a life insurance policy on her unborn fetus? Of course not. Is the man who impregnated the woman, the will-be father if and when the baby is born, legally responsible for child support during the 9 months that the fetus is growing inside the womb? Of course not. If a female immigrant crosses the border from Mexico into the United States and then once in the U.S. reports to immigration officials that she now is pregnant, is she then immediately able to legally claim the right to stay in the U.S. because she is carrying in her womb a child who is now a U.S. citizen because she claimed her pregnancy once she was on American soil? Of course not. There is NO legally acceptable and relevant test that will elevate an unborn fetus to the legal status given to a human being after birth. A fetus IS NOT A PERSON, and just saying it does not make it so!
Suzie: Are you adopting all the babies that are not planned? Nope. Will you stop women from back alley, coat hanger abortions, that was the way 50 years ago? Will you continue to vote in politicians who will continue to legislate against child help programs? I hope not.
Why do you feel the life of an unborn human is more important than the life of the mother? If you do, you are going against nature. In nature, when a pregnant mammal’s life is threatened, the mother often aborts. This spares the mother to reproduce again in the future, whereas the infant cannot survive alone. It makes great sense.
Women do use multiple forms of birth control, but now the Republicans are going after that too.
Personally, I would not abort unless the infant is severely malformed, with no hope of a normal life, or if I was raped or my life was in danger. These instances are not up to you, or the government. They would be between me, my husband and my doctor. It is none of your business.
The real issue here is not abortion, it is the complete control of women, and the dumbing down of Americans. It is about changing history. The foolish lies about librarians and teachers supposedly grooming children. The attempt to defund libraries. The attempt to overturn the government. The attempt to put black people back in time where they, too, can be under complete control.
When it’s time, the Republicans will switch the narrative and they base won’t even notice. But for now, the culture wars resume.
Shame on them. Women have a right to bodily autonomy and this is a personal decision. This state and country has a problem with Republicans in the womb.
We will remember in November.
Edith Campins says
Horrible. We are taking giant steps backwards.
There you have it, Republicans telling women not to abort. Am very sure some of the Republican males have made women pregnant and paid for their abortions. Now Democrats the Republicans gave us a fighting tool last year, I believe it stopped the red wave mid term election. Now with gun control and abortions in the political arenas we have the tools to increase our seats in the Senate and take the House. We have the tools we need to use them wisely. The people see what the Republicans are. We must vote. If Trump is the Republican choice, I think we have a great chance of maintaining a Democratic President. We must vote, we got to vote. We can do this, will we?
Where Is My Religious Freedom says
And yet every single one of the male legislature’s mistresses will be able to get one. It’s not about protecting life. It’s about controlling women and they just don’t care. They don’t care if a woman is raped. They don’t care if a 11-year old is pregnant by her father. They don’t care that a woman miscarrying may die. They. Don’t. Care.
What about viagra? Time to ban that. It’s a senseless drug. Unnecessary. If you can’t use it, well then, it’s God’s will. Force every man with a child from the moment of conception to start paying child support. While we’re at it, force them to adopt the child if the woman doesn’t want that baby. I mean we can do this all day.
It’s always about men. Men’s comfort. Men’s rights. Men. It’s old and tired and so 1800s. Is it any wonder why the GQP lost Gen Z and many women? Gee. I wonder.
Stop forcing your religion on people. That’s what this is – laws created using religion is forcing a state-sponsored religion on people which violates the Constitution. Using God as justification for passing laws implies you have formed a state-sponsored religion to not only pass but enforce those God-influenced laws on people that are guaranteed freedom from that. Argue all you want but that is exactly what is happening.
My religion says life does not begin until first breath out of the womb and before that first breath, it’s not a person, just cells, and it has no soul. The life of the mother supersedes that of the unborn because if the mother dies, the life vessel dies, and it’s always her choice when that happens. Where are my religious rights and freedoms? Hmm? I can’t say anymore or I’ll get banned.
I hope Ronnie has a plan for what to do with all the unwanted babies the state will have to deal with. I am not betting on it. Young unwed mothers are about to get $#!t on even more.
Simon: Ronnie has a plan, to allow anyone an AR15. Killing children after birth, once they do experience life.
Deborah Coffey says
Ron DeSantis is finished. His political career will be over in 2 awfully long more years. The majority of Americans despise what he is doing to education, to women, to immigrants, to LGBTQ people, to free-for-all guns, to Disney, to small businesses. Americans probably can’t exactly FASCISM, but they know it when they see it. Thank God, Ron DeSantis just sealed his fate with a total abortion ban (disguised as not being total). Bye, Ron. We’re only hoping you can’t kill too many more people while you finish out your career. When we can finally teach history again in our schools, you will go down in all those textbooks as a total disgrace.
Has Ron DeSantis gone to Ft. Lauderdale yet? They are mostly Democratic voters.
Birth control for Men!
Women get out and vote the GOP and DeSantis out for good!
…….and….march for our rights!
Jane Kranz says
Get rid of Desantis before it’s too late! He’s putting a ball and chain on us and fastening it to the kitchen sink. This thinking is beyond outdated. Let’s get him out of office asap and NEVER let him get near the White House!!! Men & Women Unite against this insanity.
Gotta love the republican nazis removing rights and any opposition voice. Pretty soon they will want to eradicate a whole group of people…oh wait already in progress(see trans, gays,blacks, Latinos) Get what you voted for i guess. I’d protest but that’s already illegal here too. Wonder what will happen next. Don’t think you can vote out nazis with such a gerrymandered electorate. Best of luck in the coming collapse. Faster than expected….
Of course such control over our privacy and the right to control our own bodies is nothing short of horrific! Hopefully, this outrageous act will completely destroys the political career of Fascist, Xenophobic DeSantis, and save us from the possibility of having such a monster as President!!!