H.B. 5 now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis for veto or signature.
The Florida Senate today approved H.B. 5, an abortion ban that will fundamentally alter abortion access across the region. The bill now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval, and he is expected to sign the bill into law. For months, Floridians have spoken out against the ban, which will prohibit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy with virtually no exceptions — not even for rape, incest, or human trafficking. In robbing pregnant Floridians of the right to decide what happens to their own bodies, politicians have disregarded not only the public’s pleas but the right to medical privacy granted by the state’s own constitution.
H.B. 5 is emblematic of the cruelty inherent in all abortion bans. Supporters of this ban made no secret of their real intent: banning abortion as fully as possible, as soon as possible. Throughout the legislative session, legislators hostile to abortion rights refused to consider the complicated life circumstances that could lead someone to seek abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. They rejected every proposed amendment to allow care in cases of rape, incest, human trafficking, or severe maternal or fetal health diagnoses. House co-sponsor Rep. Erin Grall told her colleagues during the final House debate that she consulted with no medical experts about the bill, and that this was merely a stop on the way to an even earlier abortion ban in Florida.
“Banning abortion is not what Floridians want. Every poll shows a majority of Floridians are against a 15-week abortion ban. Why do some politicians think they are better equipped to make medical decisions about someone’s pregnancy than the pregnant person, their family, and their doctor?” said Stephanie Fraim, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “Floridians want the freedom to make their own private medical decisions, not to be told what to do by politicians in Tallahassee. This cruel and careless law strips people of the right to control their own bodies and their futures.”
“The testimony of doctors, students, and survivors of sexual assault who pleaded and demanded for our representatives and senators to at least make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and human trafficking were ignored. The bill passed by the Florida Legislature is unpopular and unconstitutional, and it will make the most difficult situations for pregnant people even more challenging,” said Lillian Tamayo, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida. “Governor DeSantis likes to talk about the ‘free state of Florida.’ If that isn’t just rhetoric, he’ll veto this attack on our most fundamental freedom of all — the right to control our own bodies.”
“Medical science and compassion are dangerously absent from this bill. A 15-week abortion ban has no medical significance. This ban only serves to hurt people who are in some of the most difficult and heartbreaking moments of their lives,” said Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “Our doors will remain open, and we will continue to provide scientifically-founded reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion care.”
“We’ve entered a dangerous time for Floridians’ reproductive freedom. In just a few months, thousands of pregnant people in Florida will no longer be able to access the care they need without leaving their state,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “The supporters of this bill have put their own political ambitions and beliefs before the health and futures of their constituents. We know they will not stop here. Their ultimate goal is to ban all abortions in the state of Florida. But Planned Parenthood Action Fund and our state partners will never stop fighting for patients. We will do everything in our power to stop this law from taking effect and depriving Floridians of their rights.”
Millions of Floridians across the state — and those traveling from nearby states to seek care — will face severe ramifications from the abortion ban should it take effect in July. But the most affected will be Black and Latina Floridians, who are disproportionately likely to lack access to health care, live in rural areas, and have lower incomes due to long-standing racist policies in the state and in our nation. As a result, they are more likely to face barriers to getting an abortion before 15 weeks — and to struggle to afford to leave the state if they need to seek care later than the ban’s deadline.
Floridians who cannot afford to travel to access abortion, and are thus denied this essential health care, will be forced to remain pregnant. For Black women, especially, that could be deadly. In Florida, Black women are twice as likely as non-Hispanic white women to die during or shortly after pregnancy. The obstacles created by this abortion ban will also be compounded for immigrants who often are ineligible for public health coverage and may be unable to travel for care due to immigration enforcement.
The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates is the nonpartisan advocacy and political organization representing Florida’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates. The Alliance engages in educational and electoral activity, including legislative advocacy, voter education, and grassroots organizing to promote the Planned Parenthood mission.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy, and limited electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.