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April 14, 2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis today signed into law HB 5, a bill passed by the Florida Legislature earlier this month that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and criminalize doctors who offer abortion care to patients after that point. 

HB 5 would have devastating effects due to the myriad of barriers people must navigate to get an abortion — from delays in finding out they’re pregnant, to not being able to afford the essential health care needed, to a lack of providers nearby, to barriers previously put in place by politicians such as bans on insurance covering abortion or the 24-hour mandatory delay law that a Florida trial court recently upheld and which will take effect imminently once the court signs one additional technical document, in practice causing delays of multiple days or weeks.

In response, the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Florida released the following statements:

Kara Gross, legislative director and senior policy counsel, ACLU of Florida:

“Gov. DeSantis and the Florida legislature’s shameful abortion ban would push abortion care out of reach for countless Floridians. Personal decisions regarding whether and when to have a child should not be dictated by politicians. HB 5 ignores real-world situations — it is not always possible for people to obtain an abortion within the arbitrary timeframe provided in this bill, even if they’ve been trying to get one for weeks. There are already so many barriers to abortion care, especially for young people, those with fewer resources, and those who live in rural areas. Make no mistake: If this abortion ban goes into effect, it would have devastating consequences for pregnant people, especially those who are not able to afford to travel out of state in search of the essential health care they need. Nobody should be forced to carry a pregnancy against their will. We will take swift legal action to protect Floridians’ rights and defend against this cruel attack on our bodily autonomy.” 

Jessica Arons, senior policy counsel, ACLU:

“As the U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to gut or completely overturn Roe v. Wade, emboldened politicians in Florida and across the country have introduced a flood of extreme abortion bans this year. Florida’s law, and every attack on abortion, leads to forced pregnancy for the people who cannot gather the resources to overcome the barriers put in their way by politicians. Throughout pregnancy, a patient’s health and well-being, not politics, should drive important medical decisions. The nightmare politicians want to force on us is on full display in Texas, where the number of people getting abortion care was quickly cut in half in the state. Other states like Idaho, Tennessee, and Oklahoma are rushing to follow suit. These attacks are unconscionable and the end goal is clear: banning abortion entirely. Your rights shouldn’t depend on your zip code. We’ll do everything in our power to protect people’s ability to get the abortion care they need, regardless of where they live.”