In recent months we have seen more attacks and shocking new abortion bans across the country. But thanks to the partnership and commitment of strong allies, our tireless staff - and most importantly thanks to you - we stopped each and every one of those attacks in Florida.
In the face of extraordinary pressure, counter to the predictions of pundits and despite aggressive mobilization by our opponents, NO NEW RESTRICTIONS to our reproductive rights were passed during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session. So please remember to contribute to Planned Parenthood so we can continue to fight on the front lines against the next wave of attacks.
In addition to your calls, emails, letters, petitions, testimony, organizing and protesting our staff have been sleeping in shifts since before the 60-day legislative session started to make sure we always knew in real time just what threats we would be facing. But we realize you are far too busy to keep such a close eye on the process so we thought we would share the 2019 Top Ten Moments in Abortion Rights including the good, the bad and the downright bizarre from the 2019 Florida Legislative Session:
From the Latin "without day", sine die is the term used to mark the official end of the legislative session. With the session finally over we can now celebrate the fact that we defeated every bill that attempted to restrict access to abortion in Florida - sending the clear message that Floridians stand for access to reproductive health care!
We are proud members of the Floridians for Reproductive Freedom coalition who launched a major abortion rights advertising campaign featuring a series of billboards along major highways leading to Florida’s Capitol to educate the public and legislators as session began. The campaign even got coverage in the New York Times!
Young people, who would have been directly impacted by a bill requiring parental consent to have an abortion or be forced to get permission from a judge, spoke out early and often in opposition to this legislation. They far outnumbered supporters at every turn and shared their stories in press conferences, news outlets, in testimony and with more than 4,000 petitions.
When activists lined the halls heading into a Senate committee they created a gauntlet of accountability legislators had to go through before voting on forced parental consent.
When forced parental consent was debated on the House floor our champion legislators were tireless in raising questions and making impassioned and informed arguments against it. They fought back against this bad bill for three and a half hours. And some of the new stars shined the brightest. Freshman Democrats -- like former Planned Parenthood staffer Anna Eskamani -- made it clear we won’t stand for unconstitutional restrictions on abortion.
Republican lawmakers repeatedly insisted they knew more than doctors.When confronted with opposition to forced parental consent laws, Rep. Erin Grall admitted, “I don’t have the facts” and suggested members of groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists don’t necessarily believe the extensive research conducted by those very organizations!
Long time women’s advocate Barbara DeVane and first time advocate Heather Irons both were removed from a House committee after speaking up against false claims made by legislators. These advocates stood up for our rights no matter the cost. Will you make a contribution today in their honor?
THE DOWNRIGHT BIZARRE
Just as the session was about to start, Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva set off a firestorm of controversy by referring to women as “host bodies”. He eventually apologized but just made matters worse when he did by referring to women’s constitutionally protected right to a safe and legal abortion as “society’s greatest challenge.”
Six-week ban? Not in our state! A diverse coalition of advocates and legislators stood in silent opposition during a press conference promoting this ban. While states like Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky moved these unconstitutional bills forward, we apparently created too much heat for the bill filed in Florida to move. At the press conference an anti-abortion activist actually heckled Sen. Dennis Baxley because his six-week ban wasn’t extreme enough, allowing for exceptions for rape and the health of the mother.
Throughout the debate over forced parental consent proponents argued that young people are too immature to make a decision about abortion but somehow they are mature enough to be parents.
It took a team of dedicated advocates, dozens of committed organizations and each and every one of you to defy the odds and do what we did this session! We stopped every last bill hostile to abortion and pushed forward on important reproductive justice legislation.