ST. PETERSBURG – When it comes to personal medical decisions, politicians have no business getting between a patient and their doctor. Yet today, Governor Ron DeSants signed into law a ban on ending a pregnancy after 15 weeks, with no exceptions for most fetal diagnoses or in cases of rape or incest. The ban will deny Floridians free access to a needed health care service.

In past years, extremists at the top levels of Florida government have schemed to put in place barriers that force patients further into pregnancy – and now they have banned access to abortion later in pregnancy. Their goal is obvious: to make it harder to access abortion, with the ultimate goal of outlawing all abortions, no exceptions.

“The decision about whether to have a child or when to have a child is personal and extremely consequential,” said Amy Weintraub, Reproductive Rights Program Director for Progress Florida. “For generations, we have relied on the right to abortion to make decisions about childbearing and how it will impact our things like jobs, continued schooling, mental and physical health, and our family.”

Research confirms that reliance on the ability to access abortion has contributed to gains for women — in education, economics, employment, professional advancement, and mental and physical health. The right to abortion is fundamental to a person’s participation in the social and economic life of the nation.

Those most impacted by the ban will include Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color who do not have access to quality, culturally responsive health care, from abortion to prenatal care to preventive care for many reasons including racism and structural inequity. Further, young people and people of color face additional barriers because they are more likely to live on lower incomes and face greater difficulty getting time off work and school and arranging travel. 

“Floridians deserve better,” said Weintraub. “Cruel bans that result in medical care being criminalized are harmful and unnecessary.”