TAMPA, Fla. — Despite knowing it was likely coming, the founder of the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, Kelly Nelson, tells ABC Action News Thursday's signing of House Bill 5 was still hard to watch.
"I find it very embarrassing for Florida to join some of the other states that have done this sort of action," she said.
Nelson said the new law, which takes effect July 1, will impact about 300 of their clients this year.
"We saw a dramatic increase during COVID," she said.
During the bill signing, Governor DeSantis said the law was about preserving life beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy.
"We are viewing this in terms of protecting life," he said.
But Nelson said the group's clients, from across the state, have many reasons for needing access to abortions beyond that time frame.
"Perhaps they did not know they were pregnant at 15 weeks or perhaps they couldn't get off work to have a doctor to have a check-up," she said.
Supporters of the new law, like Florida State Senator Kelli Stargel, celebrated the bill's final approval Thursday.
"Hopefully in the future, we'll have no abortions and every baby will be wanted no matter when they're conceived," she said.
In the meantime, Nelson's group is moving forward and finding new ways to help their clients.
"We have plans to take folks out of state," she said. "We have plans with other clinics where we've set up some memorandums of understanding to work with clinics out of state. We have new plans with hotels out of state that we've never worked with before."
Nelson also told ABC Action News, the fund helps pay for abortion procedures that cost an average of $560 in the first trimester. But they also help pay for things like transportation, child care, and even hotel stays which can cost an average of $200 for their clients.
For more information about the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, click here.
Gov. DeSantis signs controversial 15-week abortion ban into law
Officials react to Florida's 15-week abortion ban being signed into law
ACLU vows "swift legal action" over Florida's new 15 week abortion ban