TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Several items in Florida’s $110 billion budget that were vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis could be a sign of the governor’s future legislative priorities.
For the second year in a row, the governor vetoed $2 million the legislature had allocated for long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) for low-income young women. The program was a priority of Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.
“If you give these women that option, it can make a big impact on their life,” Simpson said.
The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops sent Gov. DeSantis a letter urging him to veto the program, arguing in part that funding abortifacients is detrimental to the pro-life cause and contraceptives are already widespread.
“Expanding public funding of family planning providers for HLARCs is wholly unnecessary,” the letter stated. It also argued that LARCs can “have an abortifacient effect as they impede implantation of an embryo in the uterus.”
Dr. Cathy Lynch, Associate Vice President and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida medical school said LARCs often provide multiple layers of protection.
“Even at implantation, if I were to draw a pregnancy test, I wouldn’t know that you’re pregnant,” Lynch said. “There are plenty [of conceptions] that don’t result in pregnancy. I don’t know that we know the frequency with which that happens, but at least 1/3 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Before you’ve missed the period, it’s probably even a much greater number.”
Sen. Simpson and the governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for FCCB said they were unavailable for an interview and did not provide a comment beyond the letter.
The veto could signal the governor’s willingness to enact further restrictions on abortion beyond the ban passed by lawmakers in this session. The law bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for women who become pregnant from rape, incest or human trafficking. It takes effect July 1.
Gov. DeSantis also vetoed $5.7 million in funding for 83 positions in the Department of Agriculture and Community Services to handle concealed weapons licenses.
Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor to challenge DeSantis in November, said the veto was proof the governor “wants open carry.”
DeSantis recently expressed his support for permitless carry, sometimes called constitutional carry, which would allow Floridians to carry a firarm open or concealed without any permitting, licensing or training.