‘They’re perhaps 1%’: Ileana Garcia signals support for abortion ban, even for victims of rape, incest

FLAPOL092121CH056
"I’m very much a pro-life person.”

Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia stopped short of fully endorsing new restraints on abortion in Florida, including in cases of rape and incest, but her comments about the issue in a Sunday interview indicated if such a law were to come up for a vote today, she would back it.

Garcia, the founder of Latinas for Trump who narrowly won office in November 2020, told CBS 4 investigative reporter Jim DeFede that the percentage of women seeking abortions because of rape or incest is extremely low. Rather than prioritize allowing women safe access to abortion, Garcia said, governments should instead focus on prevention and better forms of the birth control pill.

“The majority of the rape cases, they’re perhaps 1%, and what I ask people is though, for those people who did survive who were born out of an unfortunate rape situation, are those people second-class citizens because the parent decided to have a child even though it was within a rape situation or human trafficking situation?” she said. “I’m one of those people that I would love to be an advocate for more education with regards on not getting pregnant or advocating to pharma to make better birth control.

“But with regards to this bill in specific, I think that we’re trying to do our best to salvage what we like to call life and just putting some guardrails in place so that it doesn’t turn into a birth control and not just an issue where someone, given a certain criteria or situation, like a life-threatening situation, have that as an alternative.”

Garcia’s comments came during a discussion about legislation Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland and Rep. Erin Grall of Vero Beach filed Jan. 11 that would bar physicians from performing abortions after 15 weeks unless the health of the mother is at risk or there is a “fatal fetal abnormality.”

The bills provide no exceptions for rape or incest. Florida law currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

“That is something they should definitely consider,” she said. “If a child is born out of that unfortunate situation, they are in no way, shape, or form a second-class citizen. So, the opportunity to give them life is something I would defend.”

According to a 2019 study by the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research organization that until 2007 operated as a branch of Planned Parenthood, Garcia is correct about the percentage of yearly abortion operations because of rape and incest.

Roughly 75% of sexual assaults go unreported, according to the nonprofit Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

DeFede argued no one would suggest a child born out of rape or incest is a second-class citizen. The right to an abortion, he said, is more about safeguarding a woman against the trauma she would endure if forced to carry the child to term.

Garcia said that trauma would be temporary.

“I think that is subject to the situation,” she said. “I think there are situations as well — we see it constantly on television — where children are born into normal relationships and normal circumstances, then become victims of dysfunctional relationships, and they weather through it. So, once again, you ask me what my stance is. I’m very much a pro-life person.”

Some women, she said, use abortion not as a last resort or a life-saving measure but as a form of birth control.

“There have been cases of people that don’t know any better and unfortunately have that as an alternative, and there are others who confront themselves with a situation they can’t handle, and they decide to make that decision,” she said. “Sometimes we find ourselves in a perilous situation and they think that that’s what the rest of their life is going to be like. And it’s not. Having a child as a single parent is not an easy situation, but it’s something that you work through, and it’s part of the learning process.

“It’s called life, and it’s a journey. And like I said, I would love to be part of that opportunity to educate people with regards to what would be right and what would be wrong and sort of put guardrails on people or situations that are done recklessly.”

Asked by DeFede to say definitively whether she was for outlawing abortion in cases of rape and incest, Garcia said: “I think that’s something that definitely needs to be considered. I’m pro-life, so I can’t tell you otherwise.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said Garcia was commenting on a bill by Rep. Webster Barnaby that would ban abortion after six weeks and deputize citizens to sue for up to $10,000 anyone who uses, or aids others in securing, abortion services beyond that time frame. That bill includes exceptions for rape and incest.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


6 comments

  • ScienceBLVR

    January 17, 2022 at 6:10 am

    Ms. Garcia has the right to believe in Trump, live her life and make her own decisions about her health care, birth control etc.. as does every other woman on the planet. If she is pro-life no one is forcing her to have an abortion. But neither she, nor anyone else, has the right to make those decisions for others.

  • A Malek

    January 17, 2022 at 6:11 am

    My best friend in college was raped by a total stranger. Why was she not on birth control? Because she was a virgin who wanted to stay that way until she married.
    The man beat her and threatened to kill her should she not submit. So she did submit.
    We went to the hospital emergency room where she was examined and told that semen did enter her. Her immediate response was not peace and resignation that she could be pregnant but rather agony.
    She was given Plan B.
    Here is what very much concerns me about right to lifers:. Many of them are against artificial birth control. They view it as sin.
    This is the next step that I see being taken:. Ban birth control.
    If women cannot get abortions or even Plan B for rape or incest, then every young girl needs to be fitted with an implant upon first menstruation.
    Because you never know what might happen to you.
    *That* is life, too.

  • Alex

    January 17, 2022 at 6:30 am

    Make sure this idiot loses this time please Florida.

  • Leonard Biscup

    January 17, 2022 at 9:37 am

    What a heartless, cruel bitch. Poorly spoken and obviously not too smart, either.

  • tom palmer

    January 17, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    Her answers were so disjointed, it was hard to understand what her point was. We do know she was fraudently elected

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories