As states pass and revive legislation restricting abortion following the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, many women are heading to Florida to have the procedure done.
Planned Parenthood facilities in Florida have taken in as many women seeking abortions as they could before the state’s 15-week ban on the procedure went into effect this month, according to Dr. Samantha Deans, the associate medical director of Planned Parenthood of Southeast and North Florida
“We had to increase our staffing. We had to increase our appointments,” Deans told CBS News.
The law was briefly blocked by a judge, but reinstated when the state appealed, adding to the confusion. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he is confident the contested new law will survive legal challenges.
“Our patients equally have been confused and, you know, devastated and struggling and panicked,” Deans said, adding that they have had to turn women away. “Those are some of the hardest conversations that I have to have with patients.”
Still, Florida’s abortion law is less restrictive than those in neighboring states, meaning many women from out of state travel to Florida for the procedure.
Florida is on track to surpass last year’s total of out-of-state abortions, which was nearly 4,900,
according to Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. As of July 6, there have been 2,548 out-of-state women who have had an abortion.
Florida has the third highest abortion rate among states in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Florida is turning into an abortion destination state here in the South,” Andrew Shirvell, founder of Florida Voice for the Unborn, told CBS News. “We need a total ban on abortions here.”
Shirvell is calling on DeSantis to convene a special legislative session to further restrict access to the procedure. But after signing the 15-week ban into law in April, DeSantis has yet to provide specifics on what additional restrictions he’d support after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
It’s fueling speculation that it’s a political tight spot as he seeks reelection this year and eyes a potential run for president in 2024.
“I’m 100% confident that Florida will enact further abortion restrictions or bans. How far we go though is really up to the governor,” Shirvell said.