MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to block new abortion restrictions in Texas, has some local officials hopeful about enacting a similar law here. But not everyone is on board with possible changes.
“We’re standing in solidarity with the women and the people in Texas with uteruses that are going to be traumatized, hurt or may die,” said Sarah Parker, Co-Founder of Women’s Voices of Southwest Florida.
Women’s Voices of Southwest Florida, based in Manatee County, said it's ringing the alarm on the dangers of the Texas abortion law. The group has been protesting a similar abortion ban being proposed in Manatee County and said the Supreme Court's refusal to block the nation's most restrictive abortion law only encourages county commissioners to enact a ban of their own.
“We believe that it’s not their business. They have no reason to be doing that. We believe that the resources, the sweat equity, the legal funds should be put towards the children that are living and breathing within Manatee County,” said Parker.
Commissioner James Satcher initiated the idea for a local abortion ban back in June.
“What a great day for America and what a great day for every unborn baby who can’t speak up for themselves,” Satcher said during a county meeting Thursday.
There are no active abortion clinics in Manatee County, but commissioners Satcher, believes his ordinance will make sure it stays that way.
“The state of Florida has been passed up officially by Texas at this point in one of the most important matters of our time, of our day and at the very least, I think that Manatee County can step up on this,” Satcher said.
The Texas law bans abortion when a heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks. It also allows private citizens to sue anyone who assists a person who’s seeking an abortion.
“For example, if you’re an Uber driver and you drive a woman to a clinic and she gets an abortion, they can sue the Uber driver. But it gets even worse. What if you’re a woman who gets on a Southwest Airlines flight and flies to Illinois and then flies back? Is it OK for this vigilante to now file a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines?” said Jeff Swartz, Law Professor at WMU-Cooley Law School.
The Texas law makes no exception for rape or incest.
Tampa Woman’s Health Center performs an average of 12 abortions daily. They said they’ve already seen an influx of calls this week.
“Women being worried for themselves who aren’t necessarily pregnant that are worried that what if I do get pregnant what will happen? We’ve even seen patients as soon as this week from Texas traveling all the way here to Tampa to get services,” said Liberty Feucht, Assistant Director of Tampa Woman’s Health Center.
Feucht believes if a similar abortion ban passes in Florida, women may resort to unsafe ways to end a pregnancy.