Doctors who provide abortion services joined legislative leaders at a press conference then testifiied at a Senate hearing against SB 146
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Today, Senator Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) and Representative Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando) and other legislative leaders were joined by doctors who provide abortion services for a press conference (video here). The doctors then testifiied against SB 146, the 15-week abortion ban, in the Senate Health Policy Committee where even an amendment to provide an exception for survivors of rape, incest and human trafficking was heartlessly voted down by the Republican majority on the committee.
“Every pregnancy is unique. Patients seeking care beyond 15 weeks are often in some of the most difficult circumstances, either because of serious health complications for the pregnant person, severe fetal anomalies, or because of harsh life circumstances,” said Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “This legislation ignores those real life situations, and puts medical decisions in the hands of politicians - that is simply wrong.”
As of February 1st, nearly 400 health care professionals from across the state have signed an open letter to state lawmakers opposing SB 146. Signed by specialties and disciplines spanning the spectrum of clinical care, this letter sends a clear signal to lawmakers: the health care community is firmly opposed to this harmful legislation.
“Abortion is health care. This proposal and the many others permutations attempting to restrict a woman’s right to choose that have passed this legislature in my tenure, and far beyond, are dangerous, incomprehensible and unconstitutional for women all over our state,” said Senator Lori Berman (D- Boynton Beach). “Basic family planning continues to be threatened by Republicans merely trying to please their base. We must stand firm, remain fierce and hold steadfast in these challenges. Get angry, get loud. Defend Roe v. Wade.”
During the press conference, the doctors provided numerous examples where patients would be adversely impacted by an abortion ban.
“Abortion bans like SB 146 are a direct assault on bodily autonomy and the patient-physician relationship. No one should have their most personal medical decisions controlled by politicians, or anyone else,” said Dr. Samantha Deans, Associate Medical Director for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida.
“As a practicing OB/Gyn, and on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, I strongly oppose this flawed legislation that would put the health and well being of Floridians in jeopardy,” said Dr. Rachel B. Rapkin. “If this bill passes, patients will be forced to carry pregnancies to term against their will. What’s more, maternal morbidity and mortality are significantly higher when abortion is illegal or inaccessible.”
“People will always continue to choose abortion. Today, what the legislature is really doing in moving this abortion ban, is deciding whether to take away safe, compassionate healthcare by licensed professionals. This ban would have a crushing impact on patients in Florida. Patients like Brittany, a 30-year-old, mother of three, who was unable to access care until after 15-weeks because of all of the barriers she faced in accessing an abortion in our state. It took Brittany and her husband weeks to find the money for the procedure, time off from work, childcare, transportation, and more. This bill has a personal impact on Floridians, whether our legislators know them personally or not. Spending time legislating bans on abortion care is a betrayal by our legislature, a governing body that should be working to protect Floridians, not taking away their healthcare,” said Kelly Flynn, President/CEO of A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville.
Important medical decisions, including whether to have an abortion, should be left to the patient, their family and their doctor - not politicians. SB 146 would take that deeply personal decision away.
Senator Berman and Representative Eskamani were joined at the press conference by members of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses, Doctors Rachel Rapkin, Sujatha Prabhakaran and Samantha Deans, as well as Amber Gavin and Kelly Flynn from A Woman’s Choice Jacksonville.