The Quickie: Florida Lawmakers Introduce Near Total Abortion Ban
For Immediate Release: March 7, 2023
Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.
In today’s Quickie: FL legislators introduce near total abortion ban; anti-abortion activists go to extreme lengths to restrict medication abortion; Kansans lobby for abortion and trans rights; advocates lobby for restored family planning funding in TX; and abortion rights advocate Verónica Cruz Sánchez is one of TIME’s Woman of the Year!
BREAKING: FLORIDA LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE NEAR TOTAL ABORTION BAN, BUT ADVOCATES ARE READY FOR THE FIGHT: On the first day of the legislative session, Florida lawmakers have introduced a near-total abortion ban. Sponsored by the same lawmakers who pushed the state’s current ban on abortion after 15 weeks, SB 300/HB 7 would prohibit abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. While experts are still analyzing the bill, the impact of this legislation is already clear:Abortion access in Florida would be virtually eliminated.
“As with all abortion bans, this bill will prevent people from accessing essential health care and take away people’s power over their own bodies, their lives, and their futures,” Laura Goodhue, Executive Director of Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates (FAPPA), said in a statement. “This near total abortion ban has nothing to do with what is best for Floridians and everything to do with Ron DeSantis’ ambition to be president and what he thinks Republican primary voters want. Ultimately, decisions about whether to end a pregnancy, choose adoption, or raise a child must be left up to the pregnant person and anyone they decide to consult. Politicians have no business meddling in these deeply personal decisions and pushing these outrageous abortion bans.”
In anticipation of anti-abortion lawmakers’ proposed ban, yesterday, Florida lawmakers introduced a bill to codify the state’s privacy right and restore abortion access in the state. The Reproductive Health Care Protections Act (SB 1076/HB 1033) recognizes comprehensive reproductive health care as a fundamental component of a woman’s health, privacy, and equality. Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida physician Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran joined bill sponsors Sen. Lorri Berman and Rep. Rita Harris for a press conference to discuss the urgency of codifying reproductive rights in Florida.
Dr. Prabhakaran shared more about her patients’ experiences during the conference. Video is available here.
ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVISTS GOING TO EXTREME LENGTHS TO RESTRICT MEDICATION ABORTION: Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board highlighted the dangerous precedent that could be set if mifepristone is pulled from the market due to a federal court decision in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA. Mifepristone, one of two drugs used in a medication abortion, has been approved by the FDA for use for over 22 years with an outstanding safety and efficacy record. In fact, medical experts agree that mifepristone, as the LA Times notes, has been over-regulated.
“The extreme lengths to which antiabortion activists will go should trouble everyone who cares about the exercise of civil rights, particularly the right to control your own body.” – LA Times editorial
These tactics extend beyond the lawsuit. Walgreens, one of America’s largest retail pharmacy chains, announced that it would not dispense medication abortion in 20 states after those states’ attorney generals sent a letter to two major retail pharmacies warning them of complying with state and federal laws. This includes several states where abortion remains legal.
“This is the exact result anti-abortion actors want from their intimidation tactics,” Danika Severino Wynn, Vice President of Abortion Access at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said. “When politicians have the ability to interfere in the patient-provider relationship — in defiance of well-established science and medical evidence — people seeking access to timely, essential health care suffer. The decisions companies make regarding health care services should be rooted in public health and safety and the needs of patients — not fear of litigation by politicians committed to controlling people’s health care decisions, bodies, and lives.”
KANSANS TAKE TO STATE CAPITOL BUILDING FOR BODILY AUTONOMY: Yesterday, as Kansas lawmakers considered two anti-trans bills – SB 180 and SB 2238 – advocates for reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ rights brought the fight for Kansans’ futures to the state capitol. Dozens of people from across the state participated in Kansans for Bodily Autonomy Advocacy Day, raising the alarm on these renewed attacks on abortion, gender-affirming care, and gender equity. Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes organizer Lauren Klapper told the Kansas Reflector,
“I do wish we were brought together under slightly different circumstances, I will say, other than, you know, direct attacks on our bodily autonomy, reproductive freedom and the rights of our trans neighbors. But showing up here to advocate for ourselves and our communities is an act of love. And it also demonstrates the extent of our collective power.”
Kansas legislators are considering at least a dozen bills targeting transgender and gender-nonconforming people, including a ban on gender affirming care for minors (SB 233); a ban on trans youth playing school sports (SB 2238); and a measure excluding transgender and intersex people from accessing same-sex public spaces like bathrooms, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers (SB 180).
The event was organized by ACLU of Kansas, Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, Trust Women, URGE Kansas, and Vote Neigh.
Read more from Kansas Reflector.
TEXAS CHAMPION LAWMAKERS WORK TO EXPAND HEALTH CARE ACCESS: The Texas State Capitol was awash in pink yesterday when Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV), Texas Planned Parenthood patients, and health care advocates joined champion lawmakers to celebrate the introduction of the C.A.R.E. No Matter What Act in both chambers of the legislature. The Senate version, SB 1314, was authored by Sen. Sarah Eckhardt who joined advocates in calling for restored funding for Texas family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood health centers, that have been systematically excluded from receiving state and federal funding over the last decade of relentless political attacks. The bill, which stands for Comprehensive Access to Reproductive Health Entities, would help Texans access affordable sexual and reproductive health care services, like birth control, STI testing and treatment, and life-saving cancer screenings. As Onjheney Warren testified yesterday, without Planned Parenthood, "I don't know where I would have gone for STI testing, for wellness exams, breast cancer screenings, PAP tests.”
Since funding to these essential providers has been cut by over two-thirds, 82 clinics — one in four — have eliminated family planning services in Texas, further worsening the state’s public health crisis including abysmal maternal and prenatal health outcomes and the nation’s highest rates of uninsured people. Still, despite years of attacks and defunding efforts, Planned Parenthood health centers continue to serve more than 100,000 Texans a year.
“We hear a lot of rhetoric about improving the lives of Texans from the folks in charge,” said PPTV Senior Advisor and former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. “Well, if the state of Texas is actually serious about improving health outcomes for the people in this state, they should remove any and all restrictions from Planned Parenthood's participation in family planning programs.”
VERÓNICA CRUZ SÁNCHEZ FROM LAS LIBRES IN TIME’S WOMEN OF THE YEAR LIST:
Time Magazine included Verónica Cruz Sánchez from Las Libres, an organization based in Guanajuato, Mexico, that provides misoprostol to women in the region and beyond for self-managed abortion care and advocated for the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico, in their list of the Women of 2023. Since S.B. 8 became law and with the fall of Roe, Las Libres expanded their network of assistance into the United States. Time’s profile explains:
“Many might worry about the risk of defying laws like the one in Texas, which targets anyone who ‘aids and abets’ abortions. But Cruz isn’t afraid, she says, noting that media visibility may have helped her avoid legal problems before. And, she adds, the idea of being arrested for helping women get medical care drives her. ‘When people tell me I’m crazy to risk arrest, it makes me angry. What I’m doing is the only reasonable thing to do.’”
Las Libres, with UNASSE and as a part of the project Fronteras Solidarias, was a recipient of PPFA’s Somos Valentía (We are bravery) Invencible Award in 2022.
Read more at TIME.