Florida reacts to Roe v. Wade overturn by Supreme Court

Florida politicians decry, celebrate the historic abortion decision.
More than 1,000 activists gathered in downtown Tampa in support of abortion rights in May.
More than 1,000 activists gathered in downtown Tampa in support of abortion rights in May. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published June 24, 2022|Updated June 24, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, ending nationwide protections on abortion and leaving future abortion restrictions to the states.

Florida’s Republican leaders have not said whether they would seek further abortion constraints in a post-Roe world, beyond the new law they recently passed banning the procedure after 15 weeks.

Related: Why Florida isn’t losing the right to an abortion … yet

On Friday, Florida’s Republican politicians celebrated the ruling, while Democrats said they feared what comes next.

Here is a collection of their responses, which will be updated:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to allow states to regulate abortion was right constitutionally and morally. For nearly half a century, a nation founded on God-given rights denied those rights to its most vulnerable citizens and more than 63 million Americans never got the chance to pursue their dreams. But we must not only continue to take steps to protect the unborn, we must also do more to support mothers and their babies. I will soon introduce a bill to ensure we do everything we can to give every child the opportunity to fully access the promise of America.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott

“The importance of today’s decision by the Supreme Court cannot be overstated. For nearly 50 years, our country endured flawed legal reasoning that invented an implied constitutional right to abortion while stripping authority from lawmakers according to the will of the people. Today, the Court correctly interpreted the Constitution, defended human dignity and the foundational principle of federalism, and rightly declared that there is no constitutional right to end the life of an unborn child.

“I firmly believe that life begins at conception and that every child deserves to be welcomed into this world with open and loving arms. Abortion ends a life. It is abhorrent and has no place in our society. While we celebrate the Court’s latest ruling, the fight to protect the sanctity of life is not over. Lawmakers and the pro-life movement have the responsibility to make adoption more accessible and affordable, and do everything in our power to meet the needs of struggling women and their families so they can choose life. We cannot stop fighting until every life, born and unborn, is valued.”

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg

“Today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn nearly fifty years of progress by dismantling Roe v. Wade is shameful, harmful, and wrong. Without the protections of Roe, radical Republican governors and legislators, including those in Tallahassee, will now have the power to outlaw abortion entirely, regardless of the circumstances. We cannot allow this attack on a woman’s constitutional right to privacy go unanswered. Congress and state governments must immediately step up and take action to protect a woman’s right to choose — because everyone should have full control over their body, life, and future.”

U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Orlando

“The decision to strike down Roe v. Wade is downright dangerous and tragic. I’m sick and tired of our basic, fundamental right to privacy being politicized. Because of today’s ruling, women will be forced to put their lives on the line, victims of rape and incest will be forced into pregnancy, and we cannot say we control our own bodies in this country. Our daughters and granddaughters have lost a right we fought so hard to protect. But let me be clear: Despite today’s decision, this fight is far from over. In the U.S. Senate, I will stand up, speak out, and relentlessly fight for a woman’s right to choose her own destiny. We refuse to go back to allowing our personal decisions be made by politicians like Marco Rubio who has obsessively fought to ban abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.”

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U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

“Ripping away our rights and freedoms is un-American - and this decision is downright dangerous. For over fifty years, women across America have had the right to make personal health care decisions with their doctors and their families. Today, the Supreme Court and the extremists who built this court majority are compromising the health, safety and economic well being of women and families. Women, families and their doctors – not politicians – should determine the timing of childbirth, make their own personal reproductive health decisions and choose their pathways in life.

“Neighbors across Florida are rightfully worried about what today’s decision means for them – Governor DeSantis and Republican legislators already have issued a costly and cruel restrictive abortion ban in the state that is illegal under the right to privacy under our state constitution. Repealing Roe v Wade affects more than just abortion care – it impacts the work and funding of health providers that people in communities across the country depend on. We need to ensure that all people have access to the quality care they need, including birth control, abortion care, prenatal care and parenting support. That’s why I cosponsored the Health Care Providers Safety Act, to combat the skyrocketing reports of violence and harassment against abortion care providers and ensure our doctors and medical professionals can operate in safe, secure environments.

“While today’s decision will be devastating for Floridians, especially our neighbors of color, I will not rest until we make Roe a law and ensure birth control remains available and affordable. We have voted in the House to do so with passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, and today I am joining countless Americans in the urgent call for U.S. Senators to act with courage on behalf of all Americans to pass the bill. While today is a dark day in our nation’s history, our fight for freedom is not over.”

Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried

“This is a tragic day for women in America. The freedom to make our own choices about our lives, our bodies, and our healthcare is fundamental to our humanity. It’s absolutely devastating to have those rights taken away. It’s not an exaggeration to say that women and girls will die as a result of this decision. Women will now be forced to stay with abusive partners, to carry dangerous and unviable pregnancies to term, to be refused life-saving medical care, to seek out unsafe and illegal ways to have an abortion, to bear children conceived through rape and incest, and to endure a host of other indignities too varied and disturbing to describe. It will have a catastrophic effect on women’s economic prospects and participation in the workforce. It has and will be disastrous for our mental health. It’s cruel and inhumane, and it’s the result of Republicans’ years-long war on women and our rights.

“In Florida, for now, we still have a provision in our state constitution that protects abortion rights – although that is in question as well. I promise that we will fight with everything we have to keep that from being overturned.”

U.S. Rep Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor

“For far too long, federal abortion laws have been stuck in the past. With current scientific knowledge on the stages of human development, there can be no more excuses.  Our laws must reflect these realities and be realigned to protect the unborn.  With today’s ruling, SCOTUS has rightfully empowered states in this matter while realigning federal abortion policies with science.  Despite the political push on the left and the fearmongering in the media, most Americans believe the concept of on-demand abortions available at any stage of pregnancy to be morally repugnant.  The majority also do not want to see their tax dollars used to fund abortions.  Yet, Democrats continue to push these radical, anti-life priorities.  Democrats, not Republicans, are out of touch on this important issue.  I agree with the majority of Americans who believe in empowering mothers and supporting the birth of healthy babies while offering viable options through pregnancy care centers and adoption agencies.  As we embrace a culture of life, we recommit ourselves to protecting the most vulnerable among us.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody

Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor

“The Florida House agrees with the Supreme Court that abortion is an issue that should be left to the states. I have been and will always continue to be unmovable on the need to protect unborn life. This past session, we passed House Bill 5, the most impactful legislation signed into law in our state’s history to protect babies starting at 15 weeks’ gestation and reduce infant mortality. In Florida, our attention must now shift to the state courts and the Florida Supreme Court as they evaluate HB 5 and determine its constitutionality here – an additional hurdle present in our state.”

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby

“As an adopted child myself, I am grateful for this decision. The court is finally righting a grievous wrong.

“It’s hard to believe we live in a country that has permitted the murder of 63 million innocent children over the last 50 years. Every abortion kills a human being made in the image and likeness of God who deserves the chance to grow up in a loving family.

“I particularly like that the Court mentions, in outlining views of pro-life Americans, ‘a woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home.’ That is certainly the case here in Florida. Florida is a state that values life. I have been proud to support pro-life, pro-family policies that not only protect innocent, unborn babies, but also support children, parents, and other caring adults willing to raise a child who is not their own.”

Incoming Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples

Incoming House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast

Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Plantation

“Women’s rights were set back half a century today with the Supreme Court’s devastating decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. With this destructive and consequential ruling, women in 13 states across the country are immediately stripped of their right to bodily autonomy and self-determination – their rights gone in an instant. With Florida Republicans cruelly proving their appetite for robbing women and girls victimized by the horrific trauma of rape, incest, and human trafficking of their right to an abortion after 15 weeks – period, end of sentence, no exceptions – it is clearly only a matter of time before our state also debates an all-out abortion ban.

“We are facing a future that terrifies me – one where my daughter, and women and girls everywhere, even survivors of sexual assault will be forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term no matter the circumstances. The only thing standing between Floridians and that dangerously real dystopian future is for every single eligible voter to exercise their right at the ballot box. We the people must stand up, speak out, and VOTE as if our personal rights and freedoms depend on it – because they do.”

State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach

“The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs affirms the states’ constitutional authority to protect the most vulnerable and innocent among us, babies in the womb. In reviewing HB 5, the Florida Supreme Court has an opportunity to apply a textual interpretation of Florida’s privacy clause, so we can act upon this decision and do even more to protect the preborn.”

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor

Democratic candidate for Florida Attorney General Daniel Uhlfelder

“When the draft decision leaked in May, I made my stance clear without any hesitation: I will never investigate nor prosecute someone for getting or providing an abortion. If Florida passes a total abortion ban, I will use every power as attorney general to refuse to enforce it. The Supreme Court made the wrong decision. Congress failed to protect us. Now, this fight comes to the states. The attorney general can be a firewall to prevent the enforcement of any ban. If I am attorney general, I will do everything I can to keep women and doctors safe.”

Democratic candidate for Florida Attorney General Aramis Ayala

• • •

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