ORLANDO, Fla. — In Tallahassee, people who are still reacting to Florida’s Senate passing a six-week abortion ban are now preparing for what will happen when the House votes.
Abortion rights advocates say they expect the bill to pass the house and head to the governor’s desk where he’s also likely to sign it. The focus now, they say, is preparing for the reality of it.
“The chances of us being able to slow down or stop this bill are very very poor,” Progress Florida Reproductive Rights Program Director Amy Weintraub said.
Progress Florida works to educate Floridians about reproductive rights. Weintraub says that knowledge has pushed them to work on what could come after the Florida House votes.
“Floridians are going to still need abortion care,” Weintraub said. “Planned parenthood- as well as our independent abortion providers- are working really hard to form formal connections with their counterparts in other states to make sure patients can get that care.”
They’re also supporting abortion funds meant to assist people who can’t afford to get to an out-of-state provider, or who might have to wait longer in line to get care.
“There’s going to be a huge influx of folks traveling north to get care,” Weintraub said. “That means abortion can be more difficult and more expensive…especially those who are already facing barriers to healthcare and that’s people who are uninsured, people who are low-income, communities of color, undocumented folks…”
On the other hand, groups like the pro-life organization Students for Life Action say they’re waiting on the house to move the bill forward.
“We hope the house strengthens the legislation to protect all babies from conception,” the group said in a statement.
Carrie Baker is a Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts and a member of the state’s Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund Board. She says they’re preparing now for the potential influx of patients.
“What happens is when people are coming from southern states up here, it delays access to care up here,” Baker said. “People that live in Massachusetts who want to go to a clinic have to wait maybe a week or two more to get access to an appointment…it definitely has concrete impacts on all of us up here as well.”
The Florida House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill within a few weeks. However, even with the Governor’s signature, the bill’s fate could depend on how the Florida Supreme Court rules on a lawsuit challenging last year’s 15-week abortion ban.
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