Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 21, 2024
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

February 21, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The House Judiciary Committee voted to advance House Bill 651 (HB 651), which would allow civil lawsuits for damages against health care practitioners providing abortion care. It could also impact the friends and family members who supported a pregnant person’s efforts to obtain the medical care they needed. Additionally, it would allow any individual who impregnated another person to sue for the wrongful death of a fetus.

The ACLU of Florida opposes this bill and its companion bill Senate Bill 476 (SB 476), which has already passed two of three of its respective committees. 

Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel of the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following: 

“Let’s be clear: this bill is not about helping grieving families for pregnancy loss. This deceptive bill is about making it even harder for Floridians to access the abortion care they need. 

“The intent is to intimidate healthcare providers and make them fearful of providing abortion care by threatening them with lawsuits. This will lead to healthcare providers denying necessary healthcare and will increase the likelihood of pregnancy complications not being timely addressed, for fear of being sued. This could have grave impacts on the overall health and safety of those patients needing care. 

“Additionally, the threat of having to defend against lawsuits and having to pay monetary damages will likely result in fewer OB/GYNs willing to practice in Florida. 

“Because these bills also encourage lawsuits against the friends, family, and support systems of pregnant Floridians, they will result in pregnant patients being more isolated and afraid to seek help from friends and family members for fear of exposing them to potential lawsuits. 

“If the state really wanted to help pregnant Floridians who suffer the loss of a wanted pregnancy, they would be passing legislation providing free mental health counseling, guaranteed paid time off from work, and buyback programs for unused nursery items. This bill does none of these things.”