Florida lawmakers prepare for abortion battle

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida lawmakers are preparing for battle over a new abortion law that Republican state leaders say they are “already working on.”

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson told 8 On Your Side on Thursday that this week’s Supreme Court ruling changed what states can do.

“When the Supreme Court goes out and makes a decision like this, it clearly is going to send a signal to all the states that are interested in banning abortions or making it more restrictive to have an abortion in their state,” Simpson said. “It’s certainly going to make us take a look at those issues.”

Simpson believes the best way to stop abortions is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That’s why he allocated $2 million in this year’s state budget to provide long-acting contraception to impoverished young women.

That provision was line-item vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“I thought that would solve a lot of the abortion issues, probably eliminate thousands of abortions,” Simpson said. “In addition to that, we strengthened/made it easier for adoptions, made it easier for foster care and things of that nature.”

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), a gubentorial candidate, held a video conference call Friday morning with several state legislators and pro-abortion rights advocates, including State Reps. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) and Tracie Davis (D-Jacksonville) and Barbara Zdravecky, former CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

“If I have the honor of being elected the next governor of Florida, I would veto this kind of law of course, because it’s offensive, it’s wrong, and it really does violate individual rights, and in particular a woman’s right to choose,” said Crist.

“This is one of the most extreme, absurd and offensive laws on the books,” said Eskamani. “And the fact that SCOTUS did nothing to stop it not only should be alarming for all of us, but it’s a reminder that we have to go beyond Roe v. Wade.”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said Thursday she wants to pass legislation at the federal level to guarantee a woman’s right to choose.

“There will be other states that may copy the Texas model, which is not a state action, but right of private action, which is clever,” Pelosi said Thursday. “Very, very dangerous. So we expect to see copycats, and that’s why it’s necessary to have a national law passed of Roe v. Wade, protecting women’s rights, wherever they live across the country, whatever their economic status is.”

Florida lawmakers begin committee weeks for the next legislative session on Sept. 20, where legislators will introduce bills and hear them in committees. There are two more weeks in October and three in November.

The 2022 legislative session begins on Jan. 11.

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