DeSantis’ 6-week abortion ban goes into effect

Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

By Giselle Balido

May 1, 2024

“A six week ban in reality is a total ban in Florida. It’s going to affect patients that are underserved, patients that may have other conditions,” a Florida doctor, who calls the new law “a human tragedy,” told Floricua.

“If I had to put it in a summary, I’d say it is a human tragedy.”

Dr. Cecilia Grande, an Obstetrics & Gynecology specialist in Miami, is referring to the six-week abortion ban set to take effect in Florida today, May 1st.

“The majority of patients that you see with wanted pregnancies, you see them after six weeks,” Grande, a member of the Committee to Protect Health Care Reproductive Freedom Taskforce who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, told Floricua.

“A six week ban in reality is like a total ban in Florida. It’s going to affect patients that are underserved, patients that may have other conditions.”

Tens of thousands of women will be impacted

This comes 30 days after the Florida Supreme Court issued a ruling upholding Gov. Ron DeSantis 15-week abortion ban.

Florida is now one of 17 states where abortion is completely banned or illegal after six weeks. (Check out this map from The New York Times to see the status of abortion bans across the country.)

RELATED: Watch This Video to Understand the Devastation Abortion Bans Cause

The new law comes with exceptions for fatal fetal abnormalities and to protect the life of the mother. Victims of rape, incest, and human trafficking are allowed to get abortions up to 15 weeks if they provide evidence, such as a restraining order, a police report, or medical records.

Reproductive rights also say the ban will impact mainly low-income women, including women of color. Florida is home to 1.4 million Latinas of reproductive age, and of this population, 558,000 are economically insecure.

Florida has been something of a haven for women across the South, where abortion has been heavily restricted since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. But with the six-week ban going into place, women in the South will have fewer options.

“This is going to affect the health of tens of thousands of women,” Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a former Democratic Florida Congresswoman who is running to unseat Senator Rick Scott in November, told Floricua. “We are going to see a rise in maternal mortality rates.”

Voters could restore abortion rights in November

Florida voters will have the chance to vote in November on Amendment 4, a citizen ballot initiative that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. The amendment would protect abortion rights up to viability, which is generally understood to mean when a baby can survive outside the womb, which the medical community puts at about 24 weeks.

If the measure were to pass, it would amend the state constitution to include language stating that “No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.”

Following the court’s upholding of DeSantis’ abortion ban, reproductive rights advocates are ready to make sure the amendment passes. For her part, Dr. Grande urges all her to get involved in the conversation; to have a say in their reproductive rights, and in their daughters’ future.

I don’t tell them how to vote. But I tell them ‘Get registered and vote,'” says Dr. Grande. “If we don’t vote, we can’t be part of this conversation. We can’t lose our civil liberties. My daughter now has fewer rights than my mother had in her day. That is unheard of.”

RELATED: Biden Attacks GOP Abortion Bans, Vows to Restore Roe During State of the Union

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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