TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida House voted to pass House Bill 5 (HB 5), a bill that would ban access to abortion after 15 weeks and criminalize doctors who offer abortion care to patients after 15 weeks.
This bill ignores the reality that: 1) it is not always possible for someone to get an abortion within 15 weeks, and 2) individuals might receive new information after they are already 15 weeks pregnant that changes the course of their family planning.
Kara Gross, ACLU of Florida’s legislative director and senior policy counsel, responded to today’s vote with the following:
“This abortion ban is cruel, burdensome, extreme and will have a devastating impact on Floridians’ healthcare. Legislators in support of this bill claim that banning abortion after 15 weeks is ‘generous.’ Bans that keep Floridians from accessing critical and essential reproductive healthcare are never ‘generous.’ There is nothing generous about forcing a pregnant person to continue their pregnancy against their will, and for making no exceptions for victims of rape, incest, or human trafficking.
“All Floridians have the right to make their own private medical decisions. Patients, not politicians, should make decisions regarding their healthcare. Throughout pregnancy, a patient’s health and their individualized circumstances, not politics, should drive all medical decisions. Many obstacles already stand in the way of abortion access including, delays in finding out if someone is pregnant, not being able to afford abortion care, finding transportation to and from a doctor's office, securing childcare, taking time off of work to get to a provider, a lack of nearby providers, and numerous other barriers put in place by politicians.
“Politicians should never be able to take away our bodily autonomy and our ability to make life decisions. There is no greater governmental intrusion. When, if, and how someone becomes a parent should never be forced on anyone. Forcing someone to continue a pregnancy is dangerous and a violation of their bodily autonomy. It is an infringement on our freedom and human dignity, yet that’s exactly what some Florida lawmakers want to do.
“Floridians support access to safe, accessible, and legal abortion care. This overreach into Floridians’ private decisions is dangerous and will have a harmful impact on communities that are already disproportionately vulnerable and marginalized in our state, especially in regards to medical care. Abortion is and always has been necessary, and Floridians must have the freedom to avail themselves of this care.”