Lori Berman airing ad highlighting support for abortion rights

The ad will be the Democratic Palm Beach County Senator's only TV ad.

Abortion — specifically the limits the state recently passed on it and the possibility it could be banned completely — is front and center in Democratic Sen. Lori Berman’s advertisement for re-election.

Monday Berman’s campaign to continue representing Palm Beach County’s Senate District 26 started running a 30-second ad appealing to what polls show is a popular sentiment: Abortion should be legal. She is facing Republican Steve Byers, a beekeeper, in her bid for a second, full term.

“Our rights are under attack,” says Berman, who identifies as “a mother by choice.” Rousing symphony music plays as she introduces herself and says, “I’m fighting for your freedoms and your right to choose.”

In an $80,000 buy, the ad will be running on through Oct. 26 on West Palm Beach affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, her campaign says. She doesn’t shy away from using the word “abortion,” either.

“I want to live in Florida where no woman is ever put in jail for having an abortion and no doctor is ever arrested for saving a woman’s life,” she says in the ad, evoking the case of Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren.

Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Warren from his elected position after he signed a pledge that he wouldn’t prosecute anyone who seeks or provides an abortion that violates Florida’s ban on the procedure after 15 weeks. The ban, Florida’s biggest restriction on abortion rights since the procedure became legal 49 years ago, is currently facing a constitutional challenge.

Berman announced plans to draft a bill that will roll back the provisions of the 15-week ban passed largely along party lines in the 2022 Session.

Focusing her sole campaign advertisement on this issue was a deliberate choice, she said. Since circumstances vary so wildly, whether to carry a pregnancy to term is not something lawmakers need to be involved in, she said.

Sometimes, traumatized rape and incest victims don’t realize they are pregnant until after 15 weeks. A woman in economic distress might not be paying attention to her menstrual period as she struggles with necessities. And sometimes there’s no anticipating the medical circumstances pregnancy presents.

“We decided this is probably one of the most significant issues that affects the electorate,” she said. “It doesn’t just affect women. It affects men and the families that love them.”

SD 26 takes in Delray Beach, parts of Boynton Beach and Boca Raton. It stretches from the coast to Palm Beach County’s western border, including Belle Glade and Wellington.

Berman said she’s trying to reach people that might not have realized how politics can affect them. Pollsters were surprised when an abortion question in Kansas brought out a record number to vote in a Primary.

“I think there are a lot of people who are starting to come to the understanding that what is going on with abortion and reproductive rights in America is counter to what they believe should be going on in America,” she said.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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