Florida’s restrictive fifteen-week abortion ban has affected the lives of at least two minor victims of incest, who were denied abortions because of the state’s law which has no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking. A local Planned Parenthood arranged for the girls to travel out of state to get the procedure safely, and legally.
With neighboring states Georgia and Alabama having near total bans, the victims had to go at least two states away.
Laura Goodhue, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood told BuzzFeed News, “We’ve had at least two young people that were survivors of incest that were past the 15-week mark that we had to send to another state”
The cruelty of forcing a very young person, who has already survived a horrible case of violence, to give birth, it just takes away their rights to bodily autonomy, and it is really turning a blind eye to what is happening in our society.
In February, the Republican-led legislature rejected Democratic efforts to add exceptions for victims of sexual violence. Florida OB-GYN, Dr. Shelly Tien, said in a press conference with Planned Parenthood President Alexandra Mandado, that many of those turned away for being past the state’s mandated 15-week threshold, are young or victims of sexual violence by their partner. “We are seeing this restriction have profound and terrible effects for some families in the most desperate of situations,” Tien said.
“To not be able to provide that service because of the restriction for a patient in such a terrible and violent situation is horrible. This patient was ent to another health center in another state…but that is another delay and barrier that that young girl should not need to face.
But Florida’s GOP legislators don’t see it that way, congratulating themselves for a bill they consider to be “fair.” State representative, Dana Trabulsy (R) said the 15-week cut off was “a long time,” adding, “Because I believe life begins at conception, that’s that’s – generous.”
Others don’t think the strict abortion bill goes far enough. Anti-abortion lobbyist, and Executive Director of Florida Voice for the Unborn, Andrew Shirvell publicly criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis for not following the lead of his Republican colleagues Texan Governor Greg Abbott, and South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem – who have signed some of the country’s strictest bans.
During his State of the State Address today, @GovRonDeSantis only made passing reference to the unborn, which is unacceptable! His failure to acknowledge the proposed 15-week abortion ban & the 2022 Florida Heartbeat Act shows that he's NOT a #prolife leader! 😠 #FlaPol #Sayfie pic.twitter.com/L3618E1uR1
— Florida Voice for the Unborn (@UnbornVoiceFL) January 11, 2022
Associate medical director for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, Samantha Deans testified at the state Capitol prior to the bill being signed into law, sharing the story of an 11 year old patient – who had just gotten her period – and didn’t know she was pregnant until she was 23 weeks along. Florida’s previous abortion law allowed the procedure until 24 weeks gestation, The Washington Post reported.
Abortion bans like the one proposed here today are a direct assault on patient autonomy. No one should have their most personal decisions controlled beyond themselves … especially not by politicians.
DeSantis’s Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, who has run on promises to protect reproductive rights, announced a press conference Friday morning to discuss this alarming situation.
Today at 11:30 AM, I’m holding a virtual press conference to discuss DeSantis’s abortion ban and the heartbreaking reports of young girls impacted by the Governor’s anti-choice actions.
Tune in live on our Twitter or Facebook page.
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) October 14, 2022
While Republicans are doing their best to control the bodily autonomy of millions of women and girls, a very important issue is being overlooked and ignored – protecting the country’s most vulnerable. Instead of putting up barriers to block access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare, we should be asking why an elementary or middle school student needs to get an abortion.
Let’s start there.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick