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The Florida Senate

Senator Book, District 35 — Press Release


September 15, 2023

CONTACT: Sean LeHockey, 954-424-6674

Following DeSantis Remarks, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book Files Bill Preventing Women from Imprisonment Over Florida Abortion Bans

In an interview this week, Governor DeSantis claims felony penalties in Florida’s abortion ban only criminalize doctors-- not patients

Broward County —

Broward County, FL – Today, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book filed a bill to prevent pregnant women, girls, and sexual assault survivors from being criminally charged and imprisoned for obtaining abortion healthcare — after Governor DeSantis this week claimed felony criminal penalties only apply to healthcare providers, not women, saying: “We have no criminal penalties, the penalties are for the physician…that is for the providers, it’s not for the women.” Leader Book’s “glitch bill” capitalizes on the Governor’s interpretation of this cruel and dangerous ban by clarifying and correcting Florida law to shield women from being criminalized or jailed over abortion.  

“The imprisonment of women, girls, sexual assault survivors, and their doctors through dangerous abortion bans is cruel and anti-freedom,” says Leader Lauren Book, who was arrested earlier this year while peacefully protesting the bans. “The Governor has said ‘that will not happen in Florida’ – but we’re not just going to take his word for it, we’re fighting to ensure it.”

Florida’s abortion ban, as contained in statute, clearly states: “Any person who willfully performs, or actively participates in, a termination of pregnancy in violation requirements of this section or s. 390.01112 commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.” Democratic members of the Florida Legislature have argued the cruelty and danger of jailing women and doctors since bans were introduced. Book’s new bill clarifies women cannot be criminally charged for obtaining abortions. 

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the effects of dangerous state-level abortion bans are being seen across Florida and throughout the country. Women who miscarry are being denied care and sent home with sepsis – including two women from Leader Book’s district, IVF mothers whose stories she told on the Senate Floor – mothers are denied compassionate abortion care, despite fatal fetal abnormalities, and babies are left to die painfully just a few short minutes after birth – child sexual assault victims are being denied wanted abortions – and more. 

Last week, Leader Book was in the Florida Supreme Court as the Justices heard oral arguments in a case challenging the legality of Florida’s 15-week abortion ban based on the state’s constitutional privacy protections. If the court upholds the ban, 30 days later, a 6-week ban will go into effect – essentially banning abortion completely in the state of Florida. Advocates from Floridians Protecting Freedom, including Leader Book and the Reproductive Freedom Collective of Broward – are fighting to put abortion on the ballot in 2024 to give voters the power to protect abortion rights until viability. The group has gathered more than 700,000 signed petitions – more than half of the nearly 1 million needed.