TALLAHASSEE, FL – Abortion rights proponents are warning that most Republican leaders in Florida are set on ensuring that pregnancy is the only option, after the governor recently vetoed funding for birth control.
Leading up to the Supreme Court’s historic decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed – for the second year in a row – a $2 million proposal to help low-income women access long-term birth control methods, such as intrauterine devices.
Stephanie Fraim – president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida – said she’s seen a consistent erosion of resources for women by Republican leaders, but no effort to provide safety nets to existing families.
“It does seem like the message is, you know, pregnancy is the only option we want you to consider,” said Fraim. “And almost encouraging it by saying that we’re not going to help you get access to affordable birth control.”
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Senate President Sen. Wilton Simpson – R-Spring Hill – advocated for the funding and even described the program as a healthy part of a “pro-life” agenda.
However, abortion opponents – like the Florida Catholic Conference – have urged the governor to veto funding for the reversible contraception program.
Fraim said despite the cuts, organizations like Planned Parenthood and local health departments can still help those in need.
Some observers were anticipating the Supreme Court’s action, but the reality of it appears to have taken many by surprise.
Florida House Democratic Leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell – D-Tampa – shared her dismay on Instagram live, but quickly turned to offering resources for those feeling helpless.
“I think the main thing is just to not be idle, because there’s just so much work to do,” said Driskell. “It’s such a heavy lift, there’s no one organization or individual who could possibly do it all. So, I promise you, there’s an organization or candidate out there who needs you.”
Driskell mentioned groups, including Ruth’s List Florida and the Bridget Alliance, that help people seeking abortions.
Currently, abortion is still legal in Florida, but now only for pregnancies up to 15 weeks, starting July 1.
Today Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers will ask a judge to issue a temporary emergency injunction to stop the new law from going into effect.
People living in neighboring states where access is more difficult, like Alabama and Georgia, are known to trek to Florida for abortions.