Abortion ruling divisive in South Florida, just as the issue had been

Abortion ruling divisive in South Florida, just as the issue had been

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Fri, June 24th 2022, 11:38 AM EDT)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — It’s either “righting a grievous wrong” or it’s “a tragic day,” depending how one feels about women’s abortion rights.

Friday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, so the opinion is final until another Supreme Court decision or the Constitution is amended.

These are some opinions among elected officials in South Florida:

Rep. Lois Frankel (D-21st District): “Today’s Supreme Court decision takes away a person’s power to make their own personal decisions about their reproductive health, life, and future, and instead gives it to politicians. This ruling opens the floodgates not only for states to ban or severely restrict access to affordable, legal abortion, but to undermine rights that give us access to birth control, marriage equality, and more—all while disproportionately harming low-income people and people of color. This is a setback for human rights of shocking proportions. It goes against the will of the American people, and we will fight back for our rights.”

Rep. Brian Mast (R-18th District): “I fought on battlefields to protect the innocent and uphold the Constitution – abortion does neither. Our kids are the most innocent among us—at a year, at birth and before. This decision will protect millions of vulnerable, unborn babies, and that is a reason to celebrate.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R) said, “The importance of today’s decision by the Supreme Court cannot be overstated. For nearly 50 years, our country endured flawed legal reasoning that invented an implied constitutional right to abortion while stripping authority from lawmakers according to the will of the people. Today, the Court correctly interpreted the Constitution, defended human dignity and the foundational principle of federalism, and rightly declared that there is no constitutional right to end the life of an unborn child.

“I firmly believe that life begins at conception and that every child deserves to be welcomed into this world with open and loving arms. Abortion ends a life. It is abhorrent and has no place in our society. While we celebrate the Court’s latest ruling, the fight to protect the sanctity of life is not over. Lawmakers and the pro-life movement have the responsibility to make adoption more accessible and affordable, and do everything in our power to meet the needs of struggling women and their families so they can choose life. We cannot stop fighting until every life, born and unborn, is valued.”

…regulation of abortion to the states.

The ruling returns authority regarding the regulation of abortion to the states. Among Florida leaders, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) championed the new 15-week abortion ban that’ll take effect in a week, on July 1, restricting abortion without any exemptions for rape or incest.

DeSantis put a statement on Twitter, which said: “The prayers of millions have been answered. For nearly fifty years, the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited virtually any meaningful pro-life protection, but this was not grounded in the text, history or structure of the Constitution. By properly interpreting the Constitution, the Dobbs majority has restored the people’s role in our republic and a sense of hope that every life counts. Florida will continue to defend its recently enacted pro-life reforms against state court challenges, will work to expand pro-life protections, and will stand for life by promoting adoption, foster care and child welfare.”


Agriculture and Consumer Services Comm. Nikki Fried (D): “This is a tragic day for women in America. The freedom to make our own choices about our lives, our bodies, and our healthcare is fundamental to our humanity. It’s absolutely devastating to have those rights taken away. It’s not an exaggeration to say that women and girls will die as a result of this decision. Women will now be forced to stay with abusive partners, to carry dangerous and unviable pregnancies to term, to be refused life-saving medical care, to seek out unsafe and illegal ways to have an abortion, to bear children conceived through rape and incest, and to endure a host of other indignities too varied and disturbing to describe. It will have a catastrophic effect on women’s economic prospects and participation in the workforce. It has and will be disastrous for our mental health. It’s cruel and inhumane, and it’s the result of Republicans’ years-long war on women and our rights.

“In Florida, for now, we still have a provision in our state constitution that protects abortion rights – although that is in question as well. I promise that we will fight with everything we have to keep that from being overturned.”

Fried is running in the Democratic primary for governor to replace DeSantis. So is Rep. Charlie Crist (D). He committed to signing an executive order on his first day, if elected.

Crist’s statement: “My heart is heavy for women across our country and in the Sunshine State who, with this decision, are losing their federal protections for the freedom to make their own reproductive decisions.

“Under Ron DeSantis, freedom for Florida’s women has been under attack. And with today’s decision, the fate of reproductive freedom in our state is now squarely in the hands of the governor and state legislature. For Florida’s women and for all Floridians, this November’s election is the most consequential in modern history.

“I’m running for governor to protect Roe v. Wade. On day one of the Crist Administration, I will sign an Executive Order to protect a woman’s right to choose. Fighting every day for the women of our state will be a cornerstone of my administration. It’s time to get organized, get energized, get voters registered, and turn out the vote to protect women’s freedom.”

State Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton): “What today’s ruling did was put the future of women’s reproductive health within State control. We can anticipate, given the behavior of the state’s Republican leadership, that Florida will soon ban all abortion. The only way this changes is for Florida to see a balanced legislature that listens to reason. Women need to understand that the power is theirs at the ballot box and as long as we continue to have a right-wing controlled administration and legislature, we can expect to see not only our right to safe and legal abortion stripped away, but the continued destruction of many of our civil liberties. We must change who’s running the state because all Floridians deserve the freedom to be healthy, prosperous, and safe.”

State Rep. Pat Williams (D-Pompano Beach): “Saddened BUT not SURPRISED!!”

State Rep. Robin Bartleman (D-Weston): “It’s a sad day. I can’t believe that my daughters and women across this country will no longer have the ability to make choices about OUR bodies.”

State Rep. Nicholas X. Duran (D-Miami): “My wife and I are gutted just thinking about the generations of women coming up now with less rights to privacy and autonomy in health care decisions. Seek outrage daily, but do not be bitter. Channel that outrage into action… Elections matter.”

Florida Senate Pres. Wilton Simpson (R): “As an adopted child myself, I am grateful for this decision. The court is finally righting a grievous wrong.

“It’s hard to believe we live in a country that has permitted the murder of 63 million innocent children over the last 50 years. Every abortion kills a human being made in the image and likeness of God who deserves the chance to grow up in a loving family.

“I particularly like that the Court mentions, in outlining views of pro-life Americans, ‘a woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home.’ That is certainly the case here in Florida. Florida is a state that values life. I have been proud to support pro-life, pro-family policies that not only protect innocent, unborn babies, but also support children, parents, and other caring adults willing to raise a child who is not their own.”

State Rep. Susan Valdés (D-Tampa): “Today’s decision is an egregious judicial overreach and an attack on the fundamental rights of every American. My heart breaks for the women in states where their individual autonomy will be nullified, and the rights that so many worked so hard for secure are trampled. Using the power of the state to force women to have children against their will is a violation of basic principles of liberty and human dignity. No matter what this Supreme Court says, a woman has an inalienable right to decide what happens to her body. It is imperative that we redouble our efforts to secure that basic right; to defend choice, individual liberty, and the values we hold dear as Americans. I pledge to do everything in my power as a legislator to ensure that the Florida Constitution is followed and our state protects a woman’s right to choose.”

State Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville): “This radical Supreme Court decision is not about supporting life. Pro-life is about eliminating racial health disparities, it’s about addressing the alarmingly high Black maternal morbidity rates, protecting access to affordable health care, and our freedom to control our own bodies and our futures. Politics will now make decisions for our health– not our doctors and not ourselves. It’s a sad day for all of us, especially Black women.”

Leader Pro Tempore Rep. Kamia Brown (D-Ocoee): “Today is a historical day, and by that, I mean it is a day that sounds like it belongs in history and not the modern day. The Supreme Court’s dismantling of Roe v. Wade is not only upsetting, but unthinkable. This decision will not stop abortions, only make them harder, and in some cases more dangerous, to obtain.

“At these abortion rights marches and rallies, I think of those iconic black and white photos of the marches in 1973 and think about how the only difference is that now we are captured in color.

“The United States is facing a maternal health crisis, with the maternal mortality rate being 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live deaths, with that of Black women being three times higher than that. We are facing a totally preventable baby formula shortage that is leaving parents desperate and babies hungry. Instead of addressing these issues, those in power are choosing instead to strip the rights of women to make their own choices about their health and their lives.

“The thing with freedom and choice is that once it is given, it will not so easily be taken away. We are no longer living in a time where a woman’s only place is in the house. A woman’s place is anywhere she wants it to be, and that can be at an abortion clinic, at a march for her right to choose, and, what many fear, at a ballot box this November. This fight is not over just yet.”

State Rep. Yvonne Hinson (D-Gainesville): “Make no mistake — this decision goes beyond abortion. This wrongful ruling is about who has power over you, who has the authority to make decisions for you, and who can control how your future is going to be. Our rights are no longer safe.

“This decision goes against the will of the people: 80% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal.

“That means 36 million women — nearly half of the women of reproductive age (18-49) in the United States — and more people who can become pregnant, could soon lose abortion access.

“This decision means that government officials in states across the country may soon be investigating and potentially criminalizing pregnancy outcomes — including for pregnancies that end in miscarriage. It is an attack on your rights, your privacy, and your freedom.”

Leader Evan Jenne (D-Hollywood): “History has shown us that abortions cannot be ended by legislation. All this will do is make it harder to get a safe, legal abortion, and lead to what we saw in decades past: women sick and dying because of unsafe, underground abortions.

“The majority of Americans, and Floridians, want there to be access to abortion services. A loud minority has pushed its extremist agenda all the way to the Supreme Court, and millions will suffer because of it.

“Choosing when and if to have a baby is one of the most important and personal decisions anyone can ever make. Access to family planning options like birth control and abortions are critically important and should be protected for all.”

Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa): “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is devastating but it is not surprising. The court, dominated by radically conservative justices, has just overturned the most significant piece of law protecting privacy and the health of women in our country. Today’s decision should concern every American. After today, women are less safe. After today, our Supreme Court is a political tool, not an impartial court of justice.

“For Floridians, today’s decision ratifies the radical and dangerous legislation jammed through the state government by Republicans and clears the path for a full ban of all abortions in our state, without exceptions for rape or incest.

“This is a major setback as we work to create a state and country where we all have the freedom to be healthy, prosperous and safe. But I am more determined than ever to fight.”

State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando): “This is a devastating blow to our collective freedom as women and Americans. And it follows a clear and consistent Republican effort to end the right to abortions. We have never lost a constitutional right, and now must make sure that Republicans at every level of government feel the consequences of stripping away our rights and freedoms.

“Abortion is about freedom, options, self-determination, and a free society. This SCOTUS decision completely strips us of our collective freedoms, taking away our power to control our personal decisions and handing it over to politicians. It will have a ripple effect around the nation with abortion bans already set to go into place and states like Florida planning to be next.

“We cannot forget that this fight goes beyond abortion, this decision is tied to other freedoms we have fought for, including same-sex marriage and access to contraception.

“Though this is a major loss for gender equity and a horrific win for extreme conservatism we must remember that here in Florida, abortion is still legal. We must remember that Floridians overwhelmingly want abortion to remain legal, and generations before us have fought tirelessly to gain and protect the rights we have today. We must take these fights with us into the upcoming midterm elections while we continue to support local abortion providers and funds.

“This is not the time to shrink, or surrender. The antidote to despair is action. We are in a fight to make sure everyone has the power to control their own bodies, lives, and futures and despite this decision, cannot give up now.”

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