Democratic Caucus concerned about full Florida abortion ban after leaked SCOTUS opinion
Image via AP.

Supreme Court
Democratic lawmakers are concerned that Gov. Ron DeSantis could add a full abortion ban to the Special Session later this month.

Members of the House Democratic Caucus called the U.S. Supreme Court’s likely overturn of Roe v. Wade an attack on women’s rights and signaled their concern that the Florida Legislature may pursue a full abortion ban during a Tuesday press conference. 

A leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion, which could be the majority opinion in the pending Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, signals the likely overturn of Roe v. Wade. The opinion stems from a legal challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.

Penned by Justice Samuel Alito, the draft decision would leave abortion to state legislatures. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban into law a few weeks ago that runs counter to the Roe v. Wade decision, but could have federal appeal hopes dashed if the 50-year-old decision is struck down.

Rep. Anna Eskamani said she and the other members of the Caucus were not surprised by the content of the leaked draft and assumed the court would go that way after watching the questions conservative justices asked during the Dec. 1 full arguments. She said it follows a clear, consistent, national effort by the Republican Party to curtail abortion rights.

“It was pretty clear that those who were recently appointed by a President who did not win the majority of the popular vote, that their intention was to perpetuate right-wing talking points in the Supreme Court and to pursue a politically motivated agenda to ban abortion long-term beginning with the unraveling of the protections established by Roe v. Wade,” Eskamani said.

Rep. Fentrice Driskell said the leaked opinion made her want to “jump out of her own skin”. She said the decision is alarming just weeks after DeSantis gave his stamp of approval to a bill that limits abortions without exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.

“Government should not interfere with one of the toughest choices that a woman and her family would face, especially a government like Florida’s which has refused to even consider or acknowledge that the majority of Americans support a balanced approach to abortion access,” Driskell said. “We’re in this very dangerous time where government thinks it knows best, even in the most intimate decisions that a person can make.”

Rep. Robin Bartleman, who had to consider getting an abortion after discovering a fetal abnormality, said abortion decisions should not be left up to the government, but to a person, their doctor, and God. She said people must fight to protect that.

“I always thought that my daughters would have reproductive rights. It was never a question in my mind,” Bartleman said. “We will not go back. We will not go back to wire hangers. We will not go back to women dying in back-alley abortions.”

The decision leak has led to some anti-abortion groups, such as the Florida Voice for the Unborn, to ask DeSantis to add a complete abortion ban to the property insurance Special Session planned for later this month.

During the press conference, each legislator said they would not be surprised if such a ban was added.

“They can do whatever they want. They have the numbers in the Legislature,” Bartleman said. “I think it would be a travesty if they did this.”

Eskamani said she thinks DeSantis could do it because of his 2024 political aspirations.

“We wouldn’t be surprised if the Governor did this as he is in a race to the bottom to be the most extreme presidential candidate for the Republican Party in 2024,” Eskamani said.

She said pursuing such a ban could harm the current majority party at the ballot box.

“If you are going to pursue an all-out ban during an election year, there will be consequences,” Eskamani said. “Doing so would wake up Florida voters across the state to vote against this Governor for taking his abortion ban to the most extreme degrees.”

While Florida could enact an abortion ban under federal law if Roe v. Wade is overturned, Driskell pointed to privacy protections in the Florida Constitution as a potential legal avenue for legal challenges to Florida’s 15-week abortion ban and further abortion restrictions in the state using a state-level challenge.

“Floridian’s right to privacy is very clear, and it’s sacred to Florida voters,” she said.

Tristan Wood

Tristan Wood graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a degree in Journalism. A South Florida native, he has a passion for political and accountability reporting. He previously reported for Fresh Take Florida, a news service that covers the Florida Legislature and state political stories operating out of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. You can reach Tristan at [email protected], or on Twitter @TristanDWood

One comment

  • PeterH

    May 3, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    DeSantis has full control over the compliant Florida legislature ….. and DeSantis has made his position on abortion very clear.

Comments are closed.


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, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, 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