Abortion remains legal in Florida through 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The near-total abortion ban will take effect if, in a challenge to the state’s 15-week abortion ban, the state Supreme Court undermines Floridians’ constitutional right to privacy.
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Today, Florida’s House of Representatives approved a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, sending the bill, S.B. 300, to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval in the coming weeks. The bill moved quickly through the legislature despite bipartisan opposition. Gov. DeSantis has pledged to sign the six-week ban and expand anti-abortion policies in the state, continuing his legacy of restricting Floridians’ freedom to control their own bodies and lives.
This near-total abortion ban will not take effect immediately upon Gov. DeSantis’s signature, but rather if the Florida Supreme Court court rules to undermine or eliminate Florida’s constitutional right to privacy. Such a decision could come as early as this summer in response to abortion providers’ challenge to Florida’s current ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which remains pending before the Florida Supreme Court.
The abortion ban maintains 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. The current law has already forced people to carry to term even under tragic circumstances. This new ban’s exception for rape or incest is also unlikely to provide meaningful access to patients in need. With a high burden of proof, the exception promises to retraumatize survivors by requiring medical documentation or a police report despite evidence that most survivors do not report their assault.
During debate, Republican lawmakers rejected every proposed amendment, including amendments that would have eliminated or offered exceptions to a burdensome two-physician certification requirement to qualify for care under the fetal diagnosis exception; expanded the acceptable documentation to prove that a patient is a victim of rape or incest; and reallocated $25 million currently earmarked for non- medical anti-abortion fake clinics to rape crisis centers and maternal health services.
If this ban goes into effect, it will shut down a critical abortion access point for millions across 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 providing this essential care — many people don’t know they are pregnant at six weeks. It would also be impossible for many to overcome barriers to abortion care in such a short window of time.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“From Ron DeSantis down, many lawmakers in Florida will stop at nothing to take away our freedom to make decisions about our own bodies. Despite clear evidence of harm, they have doubled down on abortion bans to deprive millions of people of essential health care. These policy decisions disproportionately hurt Black and Latino people, LGBTQ+ people, and people with low incomes due to systemic racism and discrimination. While today we mourn the imminent loss of abortion access for millions of people, we will keep fighting back in the days, months, and years to come until all Floridians can get the care they deserve without barriers or delay. Planned Parenthood Action Fund and our supporters will hold the politicians who have endangered our lives and futures accountable.”
Statement from Laura Goodhue, executive director, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates:
“Gov. DeSantis, and many lawmakers in Florida, are hellbent on tyrannical control of our bodies. This shameful abortion ban is only the tip of the iceberg. Just this past year, they have banned access to life-affirming reproductive and gender-affirming health care for millions of people, limited what children can learn about their bodies in schools, and diverted funding from critical health care programs toward stigmatizing, anti-abortion frauds. These political moves have devastating consequences for the health of our communities, and they directly go against Floridians’ will. Gov. DeSantis’s audition for the presidency doesn’t define us as Floridians. We will continue to fight for our freedom to control our bodies and our futures.”
Statement from Stephanie Fraim, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida:
“Representatives are elected to make public policy in our best interests. Floridians pleaded with these politicians not to take away our right to control our own bodies, but our voices have not been heard or considered. In passing this abortion ban, lawmakers in Tallahassee traded public service for political interference and compassion for cruelty. Instead of addressing the needs of Floridians, they have doubled down on their dangerous agenda. This ban will compound the harms already done in Florida, denying people access to essential care and forcing some to carry pregnancies against their will. This is unconscionable and unsustainable. Florida’s Planned Parenthood affiliates will do everything in our power to mitigate the harm of this ban and ensure that people can still get abortion care, whether in Florida or elsewhere.”
Statement from Alexandra Mandado, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida
“Everyone should be worried about this abortion ban, which further proves that some politicians will stop at nothing to control our lives. It will turn Florida from one of the southeast’s last access points for abortion to one that severely limits care. And it will deprive millions more people of the freedom to decide what is best for their own bodies. For many Floridians, the consequences will be life-altering, whether they are able to muster resources and seek care out of state or are forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will. This is the next wave in a public health crisis that is already devastating Florida and the southeast. Health care providers, including Florida’s Planned Parenthood affiliates, will do all that we can to make abortion accessible and support our patients.”
In Florida, state-imposed restrictions already push abortion out of reach by delaying access to care. People seeking abortion are required to make two in-person physician visits, a policy that forces people to remain pregnant longer than they want to be. And minors seeking abortion must also comply with the state’s parental consent law, which forces young people who are in foster care, experiencing abuse, or in other vulnerable situations to seek a court order in lieu of their parent’s involvement — a process that can delay their care by a week or more.
Those who are past Florida’s abortion ban limit will be forced to either travel outside the region for care, or else 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.
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.