Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
No sooner had the Florida legislature begun its 2023 session than conservatives in the state proposed a bill that would all but end abortions in the state.
The new law would, if passed, enact a six-week abortion ban on all but those procedures deemed a medical necessity or those sought in the aftermath of rape or incest. The law would also limit the methods by which doctors can distribute abortion medications and would require multiple independent doctors to attest in writing that abortions performed to save the life of the mother are legitimate.
Freshman state Sen. Erin Grall, a Republican who introduced the bill that became Florida’s current 15-week ban when she was a member of the house, proposed the bill in the upper chamber while state Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka filed a similar law in the lower.
The White House was quick to decry the proposed abortion ban.
PRO-ABORTION WHITE HOUSE
“Republican state legislators in Florida proposed, today, a bill that would ban abortion before many women know if they are even pregnant, virtually eliminating a woman’s right to make healthcare decisions about her own body,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing.
Jean-Pierre reiterated that President Joe Biden desires that Congress work together to restore the Roe v. Wade standard.
GOP-DOMINATED SUNSHINE STATE
There are many steps between a bill being proposed and signed into law, but in a state dominated by conservatives, there is a real possibility the six-week ban becomes a reality within the next year.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is still mulling a run at the presidency, has already signaled he will sign the bill if it is presented to him.
“We’re for pro-life. I urge the legislature to work, produce good stuff, and we will sign,” DeSantis said last month during a press briefing.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR 2024
Shepherding a profoundly restrictive abortion bill into law is potentially a double-edged sword for DeSantis if he has true intentions of seeking the presidency.
On the one hand, it would further endear him to Republican base voters. On the other, it might alienate people in purple states, to say nothing of potentially viable blue.
DeSantis seems to appreciate the need for tact. On Tuesday, the governor did not choose to mention the newly proposed bills during his annual “State of the State” address. DeSantis reiterated his pro-life beliefs but stopped short of endorsing the legislation.
Instead, he touted his efforts to lower the cost of caring for babies, a tactic frequently employed by Christian pro-life groups who argue that showing expectant mothers that it is possible to provide a child with a quality life negates the need for many abortions.
DeSantis is pushing for a multibillion-dollar sales tax cut that he says will ease the strain on parents of young children.
“Our $2 billion tax cut package is the largest tax cut package in Florida history,” DeSantis said.
It will help many who need relief from inflation, especially our Florida families. By permanently eliminating sales tax on all baby supplies, diapers, wipes, closed cribs, strollers, we will be able to say that in Florida, having a child will be tax free. We are proud to be pro-family and we are proud to be pro-life in the state of Florida.
For DeSantis, every political move could be a precursor to his announcing his candidacy for 2024. However, as of this writing, his strategy remains one of acting like a presidential candidate without actually being a presidential candidate.