Florida Latinas Would Suffer Under DeSantis’ Abortion Bans, Report Finds

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By Giselle Balido

October 5, 2023

If the Florida Supreme Court ultimately approves Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 15-week abortion ban, which would trigger his six-week ban to go into effect 30 days later, it could disproportionately hurt Latinas in Florida.

The US Supreme Court’s decision striking down Roe v. Wade more than a year ago has impacted millions of people across the nation by “impeding their access to abortion, disrupting their economic futures, and putting their health and even their lives at risk,” according to a new analysis from the National Partnership for Women & Families and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice

The report’s authors ague that the conservative Court’s decision has particularly harmed Latinas and other women of color, who are less likely to have insurance and experience more barriers to accessing all forms of healthcare, including reproductive care.

The study found that there are nearly 6.7 million Latinas ages 15-49 living in the 26 states that have banned or are likely to ban abortion, making them the largest group of women of color impacted by current or likely state bans.

Florida is home to 1.4 million Latinas of reproductive age, and of this population:

  • 558,000 are economically insecure. 
  • 594,600 are mothers, including 145,900 mothers of children under three. 
  • 9,100 are veterans. 
  • 75,000 are disabled.

“Marginalized women will be most affected [if the six-week ban goes into effect], and any woman that suffers an unfortunate medical situation or miscarriage or any other number of medical conditions that could put their life at risk or the baby’s life at risk,” Alejandra Rondon, Latinx constituency manager at Florida Rising, Florida’s largest independent political progressive organization, told Floricua. 

RELATED: Florida Supreme Court Appears Poised to Uphold DeSantis’ 6-Week Abortion Ban

Among Latina women, those with low incomes are especially impacted by state bans, as they are more likely to lack access to enough funds to travel to another state for abortion care.

Being forced to give birth can worsen and deepen the cycle of poverty, according to the report’s authors.

“Women who are denied abortion care are significantly more likely to be pushed deeper into poverty as a result,” the report reads. 

Some also face systemic barriers such as lack of health insurance, or “access to culturally and linguistically competent health systems,” Aurelie Colón-Larrauri, the Florida state policy advocate for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, told NBC News.

Florida On the Balance

The Florida Supreme Court last month heard oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the 15-week abortion ban signed into law by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. 

If the court ultimately approves the 15-week ban, a six-week ban signed into law by DeSantis this year would take effect 30 days later, cutting off access to abortion early in the first trimester, before many women even know they’re pregnant. DeSantis’ six-week ban would result in felony charges for “any person who willfully performs or actively participates in a termination of pregnancy.”

The court’s decision could have a significant impact not only on Florida – the only state south of Virginia where abortion is legal through 15 weeks of pregnancy but across the Southeast and other states as well, warns Rondon.

However, pro-choice activists and political leaders strongly believe that the majority of Floridians want legal access to abortion. 

RELATED: How Floridians Are Fighting DeSantis’ Abortion Ban

An early 2023 University of North Florida (UNF) poll showed 75% of Floridians opposed a six-week abortion ban, with 62% opposing it “strongly.” The poll described the law as having no exceptions. The bill DeSantis signed has exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. 

For this reason, the group Floridians Protecting Freedom is running a signature collecting campaign to “put these decisions back in the hands of Florida families and their doctors, not politicians.” If the group gets enough valid signatures, abortion rights would be on the ballot for the November 2024 election. This would let voters decide on the issue. 

And in September, Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book introduced Senate Bill 34 to make sure women and girls in Florida will not be prosecuted for seeking an abortion if DeSantis’ six-week abortion ban goes into effect.

“The imprisonment of women, girls, sexual assault survivors, and their doctors through dangerous abortion bans is cruel and anti-freedom,” Book said before the state Senate last month. 

The state Supreme Court’s decision is expected some time before the end of the year. If DeSantis’ hand-picked justices ultimately sign off on his bans, the consequences could be devastating for Florida Latinas.

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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