Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 5, 2024
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

February 5, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Monday to advance Senate Bill 476 (SB 476), 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 House Bill 651 (HB 651), which has already passed one of two of its respective committees. 

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

“We have grave concerns about the real-world impacts of this overly broad bill. 

“This bill could open the door to civil lawsuits for damages against health care providers providing abortion care, as well as friends and family members supporting a pregnant individual’s efforts to obtain the medical care they needed. These are not hypothetical situations -- we’ve seen dangerous cases like these brought in Texas and Arizona. Under this bill, civil lawsuits for damages could be brought by any person who impregnates someone else. 

“SB 476 could lead to doctors denying necessary healthcare for fear of being sued. 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. As more and more OB/GYNs leave Florida for states where they are not subject to civil lawsuits, the quality of prenatal care in Florida will suffer. 

“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. This bill would have a chilling effect on doctors providing necessary health care, on patients seeking the care they need, and on family members and friends who support their loved one seeking access to abortion care. 

“Additionally, there is no definition of ‘unborn child’ in the bill’s language. It’s unclear whether a cause of action accrues at the moment of fertilization or any time after.

“SB 476 vague language will lead to confusion, harassing litigation against health care providers, and only further obstruct Floridians’ access to abortion care in the state.”