Florida Republican lashes out after Democrats refuse to support his abortion ban

Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for MoveOn

By Giselle Balido

November 28, 2023

Rep. Basabe’s effort comes after Republicans continue to suffer major losses across the US in elections related to reproductive rights.

Miami Beach Republican Rep. Fabián Basabe introduced and then quickly withdrew a proposed measure that would ban abortion after 12 weeks, rather than the six-week limit passed in April by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Basabe says he canceled the proposed bill because Democrats in the state Legislature were unwilling to support the measure. According to Basabe, House Democratic Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell discouraged fellow party members from supporting the bill.

“While 16 out of 35 expressed an interest, none were able to officially (sign on),” Basabe wrote in a statement.

Basabe’s effort comes as Republicans have suffered one defeat after another in elections defined by reproductive rights. Since the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last year, seven states have voted to protect abortion rights, including several that cemented them in their state constitutions, with the latest being Ohio earlier this month.

A similar effort is underway in Florida, where supporters of reproductive freedom are collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would let Florida voters—not politicians—decide the state’s abortion laws during the November 2024 elections.

RELATED: How you can get abortion rights on the ballot in Florida

But women in the state could lose their access to abortion before then, as DeSantis’ six week ban will take effect if the state’s current 15-week ban is upheld in an ongoing legal challenge that is before the conservative state Supreme Court. The court’s decision is expected before the end of the year.

Approved by the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature, DeSantis’ law bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for cases of incest or rape up to 15 weeks, and through the first two trimesters if the mother faces severe health risks or if there is a “fatal fetal abnormality.”

If the past 18 months are any precedent, the law could wind up hurting Republicans in next year’s elections. A significant majority of Florida voters support abortion being legal in most or all cases, according to polling, with a whopping 75% of voters opposing DeSantis’ six-week ban, according to a 2023 poll from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab.

Basabe, who won his race by only 242 votes last year out of more than 52,000 votes cast, is among the most vulnerable Republicans in the state House. He’s already drawn a challenger in former Democratic state representative Joe Saunders.

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

As part of his proposed 12-week ban, Basabe claimed that representatives from Planned Parenthood told him 12 weeks was “acceptable” when paired with the exceptions included in the six-week ban.

But Laura Goodhue, Executive Director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, told Florida Politics that Planned Parenthood has “consistently told legislators that any abortion ban is unacceptable, including when we met with Rep. Basabe.”

Basabe blamed Democrats for opposing his bill, in a statement that was similar to an April statement where he blamed the Democrats’ refusal to consider a 12-week ban for the Republican majority’s decision to pass a six-week ban. Basabe himself did not vote on the bill, but voted against dozens of amendments to reduce its impact on women.

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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