TAMPA, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 5 into law Thursday, which bans abortions after 15 weeks and goes into effect on July 1. The bill's signing wasn't a surprise, nor was the quick reaction coming from both sides of the political aisle.
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ABC Action News has gathered reactions for and against the new law below:
Bishop Gregory Parkes and the Catholic Bishops of Florida
“The Catholic bishops of Florida are grateful for Governor DeSantis’ commitment to defend unborn children and their mothers. The governor’s leadership and support for a prohibition on abortions after 15 weeks gestation encouraged the legislature to take up and pass HB 5. We applaud his approval of this historic law.
We also commend Florida’s legislative leaders and especially bill sponsors, Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and Representative Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach), who courageously accomplished the difficult task of advancing the bill through the committee process and floor debate in the Florida House and Senate.
While there is still work to be done, today’s bill signing marks significant progress towards full legal recognition of unborn children. Additionally, the bishops of Florida remain committed to supporting mothers in need during their pregnancies through parishes and other ministries, and the network of pregnancy centers across Florida.”
Commissioner Nikki Fried
“This law is a despicable and disgusting assault on women. It’s an insult to our dignity and our ability to make these deeply personal decisions about our own lives, and it will have a devastating impact on the physical and emotional health of women across Florida. The hypocrisy of Republicans who love to brag about how ‘free’ our state is while pushing a law that will literally force women and girls to give birth is absolutely outrageous. This law is a direct attack on women’s constitutional rights, and it’s cruel, extreme, and inhumane.”
Florida Democratic Party
"Not to consider women's rights to choose is outrageous. Women who have been victims of rape, incest, and human trafficking have already been through enough emotional trauma and ignoring this is a direct attack against women. This radical and abject hostility towards women's rights is unacceptable. For decades women have been victims of men trying to make decisions for them, and Governor DeSantis' actions are no exception", said Gricel Gonzalez, Press Secretary for the Florida Democratic Party.
Florida Right to Life
“We praise Governor Ron DeSantis, the pro-life members of the Florida state legislature and Florida Right to Life for all of the hard work that went into seeing this legislation become law. No unborn child should suffer and die from an abortion. Florida’s law will protect unborn children and their mothers from the horrors of abortion,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.
Members of the Committee to Protect Health Care
Dr. Robyn Schickler, an OBGYN and abortion provider from Tampa
“Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican legislators who support this extreme law are taking away access to an important medical option in reproductive health care, and that is access to abortions, which can protect health and even save lives. Protecting and expanding abortion access is critical to promoting healthy lives and families, and that’s why, as physicians, we’re dismayed that Florida’s politicians are recklessly and inappropriately meddling in medicine. Decisions around abortion should be made between people who can get pregnant and their doctors, not politicians with zero experience in health care. The fact is that abortions are a common and critical part of health care that our patients should have the option of pursuing for whatever reason, free of political coercion.”
Dr. Kelly Thibert, a family medicine physician and abortion provider from Bradenton
“Patients should be able to make their own decisions about their health, using science and medical guidance from their physicians, without interference from politicians. There is no medical reason to ban abortions after 15 weeks; there are only potential harms. Physicians know that forcing a person to carry a pregnancy to term can cause physical or mental health issues, or force them to remain with a violent partner. Physicians see the difficulties patients face when they are forced to travel hundreds of miles, paying high travel costs, finding child care, and losing wages or a job, just to get an abortion, a safe and necessary medical procedure. For individuals who simply don’t want to be pregnant, or for whom it is dangerous to be pregnant, our job as physicians is to help them get the treatment they need and deserve.”
Members of the Florida House Democratic Caucus (from the Tampa Bay area)
Representative Fentrice Driskell (D- Tampa)
“By signing HB 5, the Governor is moving Florida into a dangerous zone of government overreach - because the truth is that none of us ever actually knows what challenges a person may face during their pregnancy and because this extreme abortion ban does not provide for any exceptions for women who may become pregnant through no choice of their own by rape, incest, or human trafficking. As a government, we must give people the space, dignity, and freedom to make these intensely difficult, personal decisions for themselves and their loved ones. The Governor is out of touch with what Floridians really want, which are policies that balance both the potential life of the unborn child and the life of the mother, not extreme bills that substitute the judgment of politicians in place of the wisdom of the Floridians who have to live with the consequences of these decisions being taken out of their own hands.”
Representative Michele Rayner (D- St. Petersburg)
"We knew when HB5 was passed in our legislature, Governor DeSantis would sign it. That unfortunate day is here as some of our so-called leaders continue trying to make this unconstitutional bill a reality. Our tax payers’ dollars are being spent on this Governor’s grandstanding and political ambitions for a higher office. Republicans have been the majority party in Florida for two decades now, and Florida families are struggling more than ever to pay for housing, food, and childcare, but instead of focusing on finding solutions, they are finding ways to hurt families more with bills like this abortion ban. Abortion is healthcare and a constitutional right. This is another setback for our democracy, but I will continue to work to make sure that it is brief and temporary”
Members of the Florida Senate Democratic Caucus
Senator Loranne Ausley
"Once again we are focusing on issues that divide us rather than those that bring our communities together and help our hard-working families. This is a bad bill that takes health care decisions away from women and puts them in the hands of government."
Senator Tina Polsky
"I am so disappointed and saddened to report that the Florida Legislature has denied a woman’s right to choose her own medical care after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The state should not be invading the privacy of this very difficult decision a woman may need to make for herself and her family. The arbitrary cutoff of 15 weeks will render all fetal testing done after that mark futile as the woman may no longer make decisions for herself. This is a dark day for women’s rights."
Senator Janet Cruz
“Over and over again this session we have seen this body proposing solutions to problems that do not exist. We’re trying to fix imaginary problems instead of the problems of real Floridians. My constituents want solutions for overcrowded classrooms, their inability to pay rent, the rising cost of insulin and other prescription drugs. This bill does not create jobs or raise pay, it does nothing to help our working families get ahead or help our small businesses struggling with inflation and supply chain issues. What this bill does is put politicians and the government between women and their access to healthcare. I I firmly believe that everyone should have the freedom and right to make private medical decisions – and that includes the decision to have an abortion, a decision which should be made between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her faith, and this legislation destroys those freedoms”
Senator Lori Berman
"HB 5 is a dangerous, extreme and unconstitutional abortion ban stripping away women’s reproductive rights with no exception for rape, incest or human trafficking. Women will now be forced to travel out of state or resort to risky and potentially fatal back-alley abortions, regressing us back five decades. Abortion should remain safe, legal and accessible. Women should be trusted to make decisions with whomever they choose, whether their family, their doctor and/or their clergy. I urge the Governor to veto this bill to ensure we don’t move Florida backwards."
Senator Annette Taddeo
“We are less free today than before the session started. As Latin American countries like Colombia are moving forward and expanding access to healthcare, we’re moving backward in Florida. Governor DeSantis has just signed into law an extreme bill that was made even crueler by the rejections to provide exemptions for victims of rape, human trafficking, and incest. The government has no business making decisions that should be made by a woman in consultation with their doctor and their family. The conservative values of freedom and limited government that the Governor claims to fight for, have gone right out the window when it comes to a woman’s choice about her own body. Our state is worse off for it.”
Stephanie Fraim, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida
“This abortion ban is an attack on our most fundamental freedoms – the right to control our own bodies, our own futures. For politicians like Ron DeSantis to put themselves between patients and health care providers making personal medical decisions is outrageous. If these politicians think the fight against this abortion ban is over they are sadly mistaken. We won’t rest until our rights are restored. No one has the right to control what we can and cannot do with our own bodies. This is an appalling display of how anti-abortion politicians are not only out of touch with their constituents, but lacking compassion for the people they are elected to serve.”
Alexandra Mandado, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida
“We are appalled that this abortion ban was signed. Not only will it prevent health care providers — including those at Planned Parenthood — from giving their patients the best care possible, but it will limit options for people in many complex and potentially life threatening situations. We are exploring every option to stop this unconstitutional ban from being implemented. Floridians deserve better from their elected leaders.History will judge these politicians harshly for this blatant attempt to advance a political agenda over sound science and bodily autonomy.”
Laura Goodhue, Executive Director, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates
“By signing this cruel piece of legislation, Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken away Floridians’ freedom to control their own bodies. The so-called ‘Free State of Florida’ will never be truly free so long as politicians like DeSantis are able to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. To be clear: this is a full-scale assault on patients and their health care providers. All pregnant people should have the freedom to make their own medical decisions in consultation with their doctor, family and faith. This abortion ban is a clear example of politicians attempting to control those deeply personal decisions.”
Alexis McGill Johnson, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
“Nobody should be forced to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles for essential health care — but in signing this bill, Gov. Desantis will be forcing Floridians seeking abortion to do just that. Floridians want to be able to make decisions about their health and their families, without interference from politicians. They want the protections guaranteed by their state’s constitution. This ban runs counter to all of these goals. Planned Parenthood pledges to stand with patients and fight this until people can get the care they deserve.”
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor
“This significant rollback and restriction is cruel and will prove costly to Florida families. Women, families and their doctors – not politicians – should determine the timing of childbirth, make their own personal reproductive health decisions and choose their pathways in life. Florida’s extreme abortion ban is also illegal under Roe v. Wade and the right to privacy under our state constitution. The GOP abortion ban is so extreme that even women who are raped or are the victims of incest are forced to give birth. Banning access to health care is more than unconstitutional, it’s callous and will harm people and families all across Florida – our neighbors deserve better. This fight is not over.”
Florida NOW (National Organization for Women) President Debbie Deland
"Today, we've witnessed a monumental tragedy. Governor DeSantis signed and approved a bill banning abortions after the 15-week mark, with almost no exceptions. This regressive bill is the most restrictive abortion bill ever faced by Floridians.
"This has, of course, long been the strategy of anti-abortion leaders, such as DeSantis, forcing patients further into pregnancy – and then banning access to abortion later in pregnancy."
"I mourn for all the people denied their reproductive freedom." Patients in Florida who need abortion care after 15 weeks of pregnancy will have to somehow find the money to travel through multiple states to receive abortion care, or be forced to continue their pregnancy."
"HB-5 is a disgusting attack on our rights and bodies. Once again, the government gets between patients and health care providers, dictating what can and cannot happen. Our bodies and the type of care they can receive have long been the subject of political debate, discussion, and legislation by institutions and extremists, most of whom cannot fathom the emotional, mental, and physical challenges that come with pregnancy."
Tampa Bay Abortion Fund Kris Lawler
“Abortion is essential health care, and though Florida’s legislature and governor have made it much more difficult, abortion will still be accessible after HB 5 goes into effect on July 1. We were previously building capacity to help people from other states seeking abortion in Florida and had hoped our state could remain a haven from the types of cruel and invasive restrictions seen in other Southern states. Due to HB 5, we have been forced to pivot and are now partnering with clinics in abortion-friendly states like Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia to help pregnant people receive care outside of Florida.”