Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 15, 2024
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,

February 15, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Senate Fiscal Policy Committee voted 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. “SB 476 could open the door to civil lawsuits for damages against health care providers providing abortion care, as well as friends and family members who supported a pregnant individual’s efforts to obtain the medical care they needed. 

“As the bill is currently written, nothing is preventing an abusive partner or rapist from bringing a lawsuit for damages against a healthcare provider or friends and family members of the individual who had an abortion. Someone needs to get an answer from the bill sponsor on this very straightforward question: where in the bill does it prevent civil lawsuits for damages from being brought by any person who impregnates someone else? 

“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. 

“SB 476 will lead to doctors denying necessary healthcare for fear of being sued. Additionally, the threat of having to defend against lawsuits and having to pay money 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. 

“Our legislature needs to stop making it harder for Floridians to access the care they need.”