After report on incest victim, Lauren Book calls out abortion restrictions as ‘cruel and unusual’
Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book. (Image via Colin Hackley.)

The tale of a middle schooler forced to travel out of state for care angered the Senate Democratic Leader.

Sen. Lauren Book is expressing outrage at news of a child incest victim forced to travel outside Florida for an abortion. She also says she felt empathy as a victim of sexual assault herself.

But what the Senate Democratic Leader could not do was feign shock or surprise.

“I knew because of what I do and what I have been through that these things were going to happen,” Book said. “It’s only a matter of time. I’ve talked to those young people. I’ve talked to those young girls who are raped by their father. I’ll tell you something. I’ve had conversations with people that people would never believe. I had to hear things that people would never want to hear.”

One of the stories has now been heard courtesy of Planned Parenthood. Representatives shared an account with Buzzfeed News of a middle school girl impregnated through incest. Laura Goodhue, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, did not share the girl’s name, but revealed she had to travel two or three states away to obtain a legal abortion.

That prompted a number of Democratic campaigns around the state to draw attention to a ban signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in April on abortions 15 weeks into pregnancy. The new state law allows no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, despite emphatic pleas made by Book on the Senate floor during the Legislative Session.

“I shared more about my story, which was a very public, open story, than I had ever shared,” said Book, who was sexually assaulted at the hands of a live-in babysitter as a child. “That person brought me to a gang rape, and had I become pregnant, I would have had to make very difficult decisions.”

With a 15-week ban in place, Book said, girls in similar situations would be denied that choice. Knowing little of the victim in the Buzzfeed story, she presumes this child at least had the financial means to travel out of state to end a pregnancy. But many do not.

Lauren’s Kids, Book’s abuse prevention nonprofit, offers counseling and support to many young rape victims. She discussed a girl who became pregnant with her father’s baby. But as she showed at school, even as classmates taunted her and called her a “whore,” she would not reveal that incest produced the pregnancy until shortly before the baby was born. Tests on the infant later confirmed the paternity.

Her organization has seen many terrible circumstances surrounding teen pregnancies, sometimes with girls who did not know they were pregnant until after 15 weeks. Frequently, the girl has been the victim of a sex crime, whether reported to authorities or not.

“Republicans are forcing victims of incest, rape and human trafficking to have to leave our state to go get medical care,” she said. “That is cruel and unusual. Think about what it is and what it would feel like to be a young child being raped by a family member, maybe finally disclosing what that is, and not being able to be in your comfort zone to be able to get the care that you need.”

Democrats certainly hope voters remember this when they vote on Nov. 8, for legislative seats and statewide races. The story of the incest victim comes weeks after a Category 4 hurricane tore through much of the state. But Book thinks voters will remember the assault on reproductive rights regardless of the ongoing recovery.

“People are still paying attention to this issue. There are a lot of very serious issues that every day come up. But I think for women, and for people who have women in their lives, I think this is something that’s always on their mind,” Book said.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in June overturning Roe v. Wade impacted so many lives in a direct way Book believes it will motivate voters. It’s not just stories from survivors that make her feel that way, but a reticence to discuss the issue among Republicans.

“Look no further than the Governor himself,” she said. “He is not shy about talking about, ‘We’re going to do open carry. We’re going to take migrants from another state, misusing funds and send them to Martha’s Vineyard. … We’re going to do this or that.’ But you know what he’s not talking about? Abortion. They know they’re wrong. They know this doesn’t do well, because they know they’ve pushed the envelope too far.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • PeterH

    October 14, 2022 at 2:30 pm


    If Americans want women to control their own bodies, qualified teachers to replace DeSantis’s culture wars in classrooms, intelligent teacher-student conversations concerning the social issues facing Americans in the 21st century, non-bullying discussion about classroom students who are different, common sense gun regulations, and a new honest approach on how best to address climate change……

  • Netpayment

    October 15, 2022 at 7:50 am

    I have gained $44k simply in a month and a 1/2 way of means of quite simply operating activity from my laptop. Immediately while misplaced my remaining (qcr) business, I become very troubled & in the end I actually have located this on line project sporting this out I can manipulate to earn hundreds dwelling at home. Each character is

    capable of try this activity and get more money on line going this article———->>> Just Tab On My ID Name

  • Tom

    October 15, 2022 at 9:19 am

    I am an incest victim. It sucks. It was me mom!

    • Tom

      October 15, 2022 at 9:33 am

      Sick demented bastard Joey corsin,
      real Tom FP legend here.

      You are the definition of “incest”, I own you as you are obsessed.

  • Hope

    October 15, 2022 at 10:08 am

    Lauren Book has lost credibility with her horrendous political stunt that backfired regarding her mailer she designed for Loranne Ausley against Corey Simon. Even her own party was aghast. More bad news for the Democrats!

    • Sarah Pailyn

      October 17, 2022 at 11:30 am

      Don’t retreat — reload and re-fight

  • Communist Dan

    October 20, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    I love these abortion bans. 🙂
    It will mostly be the underclass, poor, and minorities who can’t afford birth control or vasectomies who will be giving forced birth to many, many more kids who will grow up in poverty and become radicalized. A huge explosion of the population of poor minorities in this country will be a wonderful thing and obviously lead to a violent revolution to overthrow the white Christian oligarchy that runs this country.
    A complete communist revolution in the US will be inevitable now. LOL. And the Christian Right is cheering this! 🙂 It is soooo good to see.

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