The measure passed the state Senate this afternoon and is expected to clear the House within days, sending it to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Today, the Florida Senate approved a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy (S.B. 300). In the coming days, the House is expected to consider its own version of the bill (H.B. 7), which was approved last week by the House Health and Human Services Committee. A final version of the bill is certain to be signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has pledged to sign the bill and “work to expand ‘pro-life’ protections” in the state.
Florida’s six-week abortion ban would decimate a critical abortion access point for the southeast, Caribbean, and Central and South America. While abortion would still be available in Florida prior to six weeks of pregnancy — and Planned Parenthood health centers are committed to still providing this essential service — that window is likely too short for many people to detect their pregnancy and overcome existing barriers to accessing abortion.
In addition to the challenges of securing resources for their appointment, people seeking abortion in Florida must comply with policies that already force patients to remain pregnant longer than they want to be: a mandatory forced delay period that requires patients make two trips to a health care provider, and a parental involvement law that requires minors to obtain parental consent or a court-granted judicial bypass.
The web of restrictions faced by people seeking abortion in Florida will inevitably push some people past the arbitrary six-week limit imposed by lawmakers. Those with pregnancies beyond Florida’s abortion ban limit will be forced to either travel outside the region for care, self-manage their abortion without medical support, or carry a pregnancy against their will. With profound medical risks and life-altering consequences, the harms of being denied abortion are lifelong and potentially deadly. The harms are especially pronounced for Black women, who experience medical racism and economic disparity that increases their risk and incidence of maternal mortality. Undocumented people, who already face burdensome barriers to accessing health care and increasing hostility from Florida’s elected officials, will also be disproportionately affected.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“As they rubber stamp this abortion ban, Florida lawmakers are choosing to put politics over people’s lives. They have ignored the resounding cries of outrage from their constituents, especially young people and health care providers. And they are disregarding the very real harm already inflicted upon pregnant people as a result of abortion bans not just in Florida, but throughout the southeast. Under the state’s existing abortion ban, people are being denied the freedom to decide what is best for their own health and futures. This six-week abortion ban will further curtail that freedom and make it even more unsafe to be pregnant in the state of Florida. In a state where politicians have stymied efforts to expand access to health care and support the most vulnerable Floridians, this ban is state-sanctioned violence. It will disproportionately harm Black Floridians, who experience medical racism and higher pregnancy-related deaths, as well as Latino communities, undocumented people, and people with low incomes. Planned Parenthood Action Fund and our state partners will not stop fighting for Floridians, and we will do everything in our power to stop this ban from endangering more lives.”
Statement from Laura Goodhue, executive director, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates:
“You would think taking away our bodily autonomy would be extreme enough for the politicians supporting this near-total ban on abortion in Florida, but this bill goes even further. On top of going against the will of the large majority of Floridians who want access to safe and legal abortion care, Senate Bill 300 will put 25 million of our tax dollars annually toward even more funding for anti-abortion pregnancy centers that have repeatedly been caught lying to those seeking real reproductive health care.”
The abortion ban will not take effect immediately upon Gov. DeSantis’s signature. Instead, its effective date is tied to state court actions undermining or eliminating Florida’s constitutional right to privacy. Among these actions are possible outcomes in a challenge to the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, which remains pending before the Florida Supreme Court.
This new abortion ban would maintain the same so-called exceptions for certain fetal diagnoses and life-threatening pregnancy complications as Florida’s current ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. These exceptions have already proven unworkable, with pregnant Floridians denied care and forced to carry to term even under tragic circumstances. This new ban’s exception for rape or incest requires medical documentation or a police report, despite evidence that most survivors do not report their assault. This requirement effectively prevents many vulnerable survivors from getting necessary care and will likely retraumatize those who do comply with this callous, unnecessary hurdle.
The abortion ban is not the only anti-reproductive freedom provision in these bills. Lawmakers have also allocated an unprecedented $25 million annually towards unregulated anti-abortion centers — an increase from the state’s current $4.5 million appropriation. By design, these centers mislead people seeking reproductive health care, with volunteers and staff giving medically inaccurate and potentially dangerous information. Since they are not providing legitimate medical care, they are not bound by state and federal privacy laws. Floridians who mistakenly went to these centers when they needed help have reported being lied to about their pregnancy’s development to prevent them from getting an abortion elsewhere; being given false information about the safety of abortion and birth control; and even having relatives, partners, or employers contacted to try to intimidate them out of getting an abortion.
Statement from Stephanie Fraim, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida:
“What the Senate did today is despicable. They’re choosing control over compassion and are interfering with our ability to make private medical decisions for ourselves. Despite hearing heartbreaking testimony from physicians who provide abortion care and the patients they care for, senators still passed a dangerous six-week abortion ban they know will harm pregnant people. All abortion bans are extreme, and no number of exceptions can change that fact. No one should be forced to carry a pregnancy that threatens their life. Today, our senators bent to the demands of an extremist minority. Whether we attribute that to ignorance, spinelessness, or outright cruelty, the outcome is the same — pregnant Floridians, their families, and our communities will suffer.”
Statement from Alexandra Mandado, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida:
“When patients walk through the doors of our health centers for abortion care, politics is the furthest thing from their minds. They come for the non-judgmental and expert care our providers are known for and that’s exactly what they get. If this near-total abortion ban becomes law, it will turn Florida — a state that already requires two in-person appointments for abortion care — into one of the most restrictive states in the nation for abortion care. It will have devastating consequences for the southeast, Caribbean, Central and South America, and beyond. Putting politics between patients and health care providers will mean we’re no longer able to provide the full range of care and will lead to tragic outcomes for our patients and their families.”
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy, and limited electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.
The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates is the nonpartisan advocacy and political organization representing Florida’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates. The Alliance engages in educational and electoral activity, including legislative advocacy, voter education, and grassroots organizing to promote the Planned Parenthood mission.
For over 50 years, building healthy communities has been Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida’s mission. Our health care services include lifesaving cancer screenings, breast health care, well-person exams, contraceptive services, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, transgender care and abortion services. Over 90% of the services we offer are preventive and help individuals, families, and communities stay healthy. Visit our website at www.ppsenfl.org.
Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida provides expert, affordable, and confidential health care to 38,000 patients through nine physical locations in Fort Myers, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Naples, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Tampa, as well as through telehealth. With or without insurance, patients can always find health care at PPSWCF including cancer screenings, breast health and mammogram referrals, well-person exams, birth control/IUDs, free condoms, pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, pregnancy options counseling, emergency contraception, miscarriage care, abortion care, HIV, UTI and STD testing and treatment, Gardasil (HPV vaccination), menopause care, gender-affirming care, and more. Go to www.myplannedparenthood.org for further information or call (941) 365-3913.