BREAKING: DeSantis Administration Planning Near-Total Abortion Ban
October 20, 2022
After months of refusing to answer questions, hiding his plans from voters, and literally running away from press when asked about his vow to expand his abortion ban with no exceptions for rape and incest even further, a new report reveals that Ron DeSantis’s administration is making plans to pursue an even more extreme ban on abortion in Florida.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, DeSantis’s representatives are already talking to state Republicans and extreme anti-abortion groups about their strategy for passing further reproductive restrictions.
In response, DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa released the following statement:
“Despite weeks of trying to hide the ball, it’s clear what DeSantis’s true goal is — a near-total abortion ban, full stop. Try as he might, Floridians and the country will hold DeSantis and Republicans accountable for their dangerous plans to ban abortion, throw doctors in jail, and pave the way to ban forms of contraceptives.”
Read more from the Tallahassee Democrat below:
What are Ron DeSantis’ plans on abortion in Florida? He’s not saying as Election Day nears
By John Kennedy and Kathryn Varn
- One of the most talked-about topics for months has turned into one that Gov. Ron DeSantis and many Florida Republicans want to speak about least as the Nov. 8 election nears.
- After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights in June, giving states full authority to create their own policies, DeSantis promised to “expand pro-life protections.”
- DeSantis recently signed into law a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest, reducing what had been a 24-week standard in place for almost a half-century.
- Now, the Republican governor is widely expected to seek a stricter ban, a so-called heartbeat bill prohibiting most abortions after six weeks. But as he campaigns for a second term, he’s not talking about it.
- DeSantis last spoke publicly at some length about abortion following a late-August Cabinet meeting.
- “I will tell you, you know, that 15 (week ban) was very difficult to be able to achieve,” DeSantis said. “We were happy that we were able to achieve it. And so, you know, we look forward and we welcome future endeavors. But we realize there’s still going to be a fight on the legal end on that.”
- Asked at that point what sort of abortion-related legislation he’d seek in the future, DeSantis exited the room.
- Asked to comment for this story, a DeSantis spokesman reiterated the governor’s support for more abortion restrictions but did not share any more specifics, pointing to an ongoing legal challenge against the recently enacted 15-week ban.
- Florida’s new, more restrictive ban has also faced renewed scrutiny after Buzzfeed News reported that a Jacksonville Planned Parenthood provider had to turn away a middle school-aged victim of incest because she was past 15 weeks pregnant.
- In Florida, strategy sessions involving representatives of DeSantis, including his chief-of-staff, James Uthmeier, and anti-abortion advocates have already taken place, according to some participants who did not want to speak publicly about the internal discussions.
- DeSantis in his 2018 campaign for governor said during the Republican primary that he would support a law banning abortion when a fetal heartbeat is thought to be detected, usually around six weeks.
- That appears to be the direction DeSantis is now headed, those on both sides of the issue said. Legislative leaders, including Rep. Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, the incoming House Speaker, and Senate President-designate Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, have been included, say those familiar with the conversations.
- Talk of a complete abortion ban, with a range of exceptions, including rape, incest, the life of mother and possibly fetal abnormality has been raised by the governor’s representatives.
- “But I think the most likely thing to happen is six weeks,” said John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council, which for years has pushed for stricter abortion laws in the state.
- Like DeSantis, neither Passidomo nor Renner are speaking publicly about what could be next, declining to respond to requests for interviews on the topic. Also remaining quiet are those who spearheaded the 15-week law approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature in mostly party-line votes.
- Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, who will move unopposed to a Senate seat next month, and Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, R-Fort Myers, are expected to continue leading efforts that could further restrict abortion in Florida. But they also were unwilling to respond to questions about what plans they may have.
- And another Republican lawmaker, who said at a rally in May that he would file a bill banning abortion outright, declined to weigh in for this story. Orange City Rep. Webster Barnaby did not return several calls and an email to his office.
- Some advocacy organizations in favor of tougher restrictions also were reluctant to wade into specifics. A Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops spokeswoman declined to make Executive Director Michael Sheedy available for an interview or answer a list of written questions.
- Instead, the group released a statement from Christie Arnold, associate for social concerns and respect life: “We are hopeful that the Florida legislature will further reduce the harm of abortion in Florida before the end of the next legislative session,” she said. “We also look forward to supporting proposals to assist expectant mothers and families in need.”
- The leader of Florida Right to Life, which favors tougher abortion restrictions, said she was focused on the election and thus hadn’t yet begun working on legislation. However, president Lynda Bell echoed Stemberger’s prediction about a six-week ban.
- “I’m hearing talk of a heartbeat-style legislation,” Bell said. “That’s the buzz.”
- Whether such a bill would include exceptions for rape or incest, Bell said she didn’t yet know.