By Bryan Boggiano
The Coral Springs Parkland Democratic Club hosted a panel Thursday to discuss reproductive healthcare and abortion access in Florida.
The panel featured State Senator Tina Polsky, State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, Men4Choice Deputy Executive Director Aaron Bos-Lun, and Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida, and Black Organizing Program Manager Diamond Delancey.
Broward Democratic Party State Committeewoman Grace Carrington moderated the discussion.
The panel comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a legislature-approved, six-week abortion ban, called the Heartbeat Protection Act, that would become the law if the Florida Supreme Court upholds the current 15-week limit.
This follows the United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June 2022, which safeguarded the right to an abortion.
Under the new Florida law, victims of rape, incest, or human trafficking could get an abortion up until 15 weeks, as long as they have a police report, restraining order, or other related documentation. There would also be exceptions to protecting the life of the mother.
Access to drugs used in medication-induced abortions and following miscarriages would only be allowed in person by a physician.
According to Hunschofsky, the majority of pregnant individuals do not know they are pregnant until well after six weeks, which makes getting an abortion close to impossible for most.
“This is the antithesis of freedom,” Hunschofsky said. “Most women wouldn’t even know in time to have the choice [to have an abortion].”
Polsky compared it to bills that restrict classroom instruction of sexual orientation, gender identity, and racism and Florida’s new law restricting drag performances.
She stated if the recently passed law goes into effect, doctors could be afraid to perform abortions, even in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.
“They’re purposely vague so that they scare people and have a chilling effect,” Polsky said. “We’re just being ruled for the governor’s presidential ambitions.”
She also noted the law could have disproportionate effects on women of color, who historically have higher maternal mortality rates and more difficulty accessing reproductive healthcare.
The panelists also stated no two pregnancies are alike, stating several factors influence somebody’s health decisions.
“There’s a lot of things that go into play into your decision to have children or not,” Delancey said.
Hunschofsky said moving forward, Democrats have to frame the issue using real-world examples and having diplomatic conversations with others.
Bos-Lun believes most people at least partially agree the government should not be making healthcare decisions regarding pregnancy, but people on their side must get the word out.
“We’ve crossed a line where we can be confident and should be confident that most people are on our side,” he said.
- Bryan has a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and earned his masters in geosciences from Florida International University, where he focused in atmospheric sciences. His interests include weather, entertainment, and municipal government.
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