Ron DeSantis warns that abortion rights advocates are ‘loaded for bear’ in Florida

DeSantis abortion
Can anti-abortion forces repel pro-choice groups in this 'big, expensive state'? The Governor sounds worried his side can't keep up with spending.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is happy that it will take at least 60% of the vote to protect abortion access via a ballot initiative next year, because he expects amendment sponsors to be “loaded for bear.”

“I look at Florida, we have of course, the Heartbeat Protection Act,” DeSantis said, referring to the law he signed this year that bans abortion in most cases after the sixth week of gestation, which critics say is effectively a total ban.

“But they’re trying to get on the ballot to do a constitutional amendment in Florida and they would need 60% not 50. But the reality is it’s a very big expensive state to be able to advertise in and I guarantee you the other side would come loaded for bear,” DeSantis warned on Saturday night.

The Governor’s comments, made at the Pulse ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Christmas Gala in Des Moines, Iowa, were made in the context of Ohio voters protecting the right to abortion via a simple majority vote this year.

DeSantis, who is the most effective fundraiser in the history of Florida politics, complained that all the money in the Buckeye State went the wrong way on this issue.

“So you have a situation where on these referenda, you have so much money flowing in to promote it and then the media is 95% in favor of those,” DeSantis said, lamenting an “imbalance” that affects “the information flow that these voters are getting.”

The Governor blames “Republicans that are you know, supposed to be promoting culture of life and everything, but if you look a lot of these business guys, these Wall Street guys, they are not pro life.”

“And so they may support Republicans because they want lower taxes, but they’re more apt to give to the other side when it comes to something like this.So I do think we’ve got a structural problem when it comes to these referenda,” DeSantis said.

Floridians Protecting Freedom (FPF), the committee working to put abortion access on the ballot in 2024, has nearly 500,000 signatures of the 891,523 needed.

The referendum, if it goes on the ballot, would ask voters to agree that “no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s health care provider.”

Proponents say it would restore the right to an abortion in Florida to where it was until the U.S. Supreme Court last year overturned the landmark ruling, Roe v. Wade. For nearly 50 years, that ruling allowed women to end pregnancies up to 24 weeks of gestation. The new Dobbs decision moved regulation of the procedure to state jurisdiction.

The Florida Legislature passed a 15-week ban in 2022, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Then, during last Session, passed a six-week ban on the procedure, but kept in some exceptions.

Right now, the 15-week ban is under state Supreme Court review as Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and a handful of abortion providers sued to stop the law, arguing that the 2022 measure violates the right to privacy in the state constitution.

Attorney General Ashley Moody is opposed to the referendum, contending would be confused by the term “viability” and that it could be viewed as allowing abortion anywhere from 12 weeks to 25 weeks.

“While I personally would not vote for this initiative no matter what definition of ‘viability’ it was using, I know that to some voters, it is material to their vote — whether you are talking about an abortion in the first trimester or at the end of the second trimester,” Moody wrote. “Floridians are entitled to know clearly and concisely what they are voting for or against.”

While DeSantis is willing to complain about the money working for the amendment, and Moody’s willing to diagnose supposedly defective language in the proposal, the Financial Impact Estimating Conference is less willing to hazard a guess as to how the amendment would affect the budget given what chief economist Amy Baker calls “a bunch of permutations that will make it a challenge” to score the proposal.


Anne Geggis and Christine Jordan Sexton contributed reporting.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    November 19, 2023 at 12:31 am

    Good Morn ‘ting America,
    Killing Babies is a sexual fetish of the 💩 4 🧠’s left.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Michelle B

      November 19, 2023 at 10:10 am

      Reproductive rights are a woman’s issue, so if you have external sex organs, you should probably stfu. No one fetishizes killing “babies” It is a heart wrenching decision for most women and sometimes used to save the mothers life. Whether it be because the pregnancy is causing medical issues, or the mother is in an abusive relationship that she is now trapped in. Have you ever met unwanted/unloved children? It’s another terrible situation.

      • Lee Roller

        November 19, 2023 at 2:10 pm

        Met them? In the mirror probably.
        The irony is strong here.

        • FloridaPatriot

          November 29, 2023 at 12:41 pm

          So you are one of the unloved? I believe it.

    • Eric

      November 19, 2023 at 4:06 pm

      Abortion is the price of freedom, but yall have been skinflints forever.

    • Ned Beatty

      November 19, 2023 at 8:36 pm

      You think Republicans don’t get abortions???

      That’s cute.

    • Mark Anderson

      November 20, 2023 at 12:10 am

      Soooo you agree with the little shortstop, E Pitts. Anyone surprised?

    • rick whitaker

      November 20, 2023 at 10:24 am


    • rick whitaker

      November 28, 2023 at 7:44 pm


    • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

      November 29, 2023 at 12:42 am

      It’s really a shame your mom didn’t abort you, Earl.
      The world would be a happier place, and those kids you raped would never have been victims.

      It’s not too late though Earl. Hang yourself.

  • My Take

    November 19, 2023 at 12:48 am

    DeSSwineis should more worry when they’re loaded for hog.

  • Flash Light

    November 19, 2023 at 4:02 am

    “loaded for bear” sez the pro-life poster child. Yes, Rhon-da, we’re coming.
    Already more than half the required petition signatures are in to be on the ballot next year. And Madwoman Moody will not succeed in keeping the question away from voters.
    Will you respect the will of the voters Rhon-da?

    • Bee Budd

      November 19, 2023 at 8:47 am


      • Ned Beatty

        November 19, 2023 at 8:37 pm

        And you have lost how to turn off caps lock.

        • rick whitaker

          November 28, 2023 at 7:48 pm


    • DEBRA

      November 19, 2023 at 11:36 am

      Awesome. I love you.

  • Ocean Joe

    November 19, 2023 at 5:29 am

    Anti-abortion, climate denier, Disney hater, somewhat racist…why isn’t this guy winning the GOP primary?

    • Michael K

      November 19, 2023 at 9:23 am

      “Somewhat” racist? Don’t forget cruel and vengeful authoritarian, with the vocabulary and nuance of a 12-year-old. Alas, he has no personality, no authenticity – only grievance. MAGAs won’t settle for Wal-Mart Trump when they can have the real thing.

    • Mark Anderson

      November 20, 2023 at 12:11 am

      He’s not tall enough.

  • woke up right

    November 19, 2023 at 10:07 am

    Disappointed that Rona continues to use violent analogies such as “throat slitting” and “loaded for bear”. Disgraceful that Rona doesn’t respect a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. The 60 percent initiative requirement barely passed by 52 percent and it’s anti-democratic. A simple majority should rule. Don’t see Rona working to change that as he should. As for Ashhole Mood, she is a disgrace.

  • PeterH

    November 19, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    DeSantis’s “stream of consciousness” narrative and vocabulary is that of a fifth grader.

    70% of Americans desire accessible abortion on demand and DeSantis moved to restrict that freedom.

  • Lee Roller

    November 19, 2023 at 2:09 pm

    He doesn’t need to worry until they’re loaded for weasel.

    • My Take

      November 19, 2023 at 11:51 pm

      Or rstshot.

      • My Take

        November 19, 2023 at 11:58 pm

        Ratshot, sometimes called snakeshot.
        “Vermin” is out apparently, bùt can we still call GOPers “varmints”* or “vipers”?
        *In a nod to America’s traditional cowboy movies.

        • MH/Duuuval

          November 21, 2023 at 10:19 am

          Galoots is the term you seek — a favorite of Western movies from the golden years of cinema.

          • My Take

            November 22, 2023 at 2:27 am

            Excellent word!
            I had forgotten all àbout it.

  • JD

    November 19, 2023 at 6:48 pm

    They’re losing (the FLGOP) and they know it. I give it 2 election cycles and they will be back to being pre-Jeb Bush performances.

    Abortion is going to be their death-toll and is why they tried to introduce legislation to change referendums to 67% in 2023. It should be 50% as that is direct democracy. If you are afraid to lose at 50%+, then your issue is wrong, and you need to be elected at whatever percentage a referendum should be.

    None of these assh0les proposing increases above a 50% vote would change their election win to being 60%.

    And guess what? DeSantis would have lost BOTH times as he was only 59% the second time.

  • MH/Duuuval

    November 19, 2023 at 7:22 pm

    Looks like AG Moody is going to get the referendum on reproductive rights scrubbed from the Nov. 2024 ballot. No need for voters to vote — the elite will take care of everything, including the right to make bodily choices for oneself.

  • Ned Beatty

    November 19, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    Viability is at 12 weeks? Florida is so dumb.


  • Earl Shelton

    November 20, 2023 at 10:05 am

    The right to bear children — or not — shall not be infringed.

    There — maybe that will sound Individual-Freedom-y enough.

  • Dale A Arnold

    November 27, 2023 at 10:11 am

    When they (Republicans) said “states rights” what they meant was state legislators will dictate /decide for you! And if the states decides the “wrong” way like them Blue states then they (Republicans) want a national ban.. Government should decide!… Messed-up huh? Small Government was just for corporations. Big body controlling Government is for us little people!

  • itsnotcomplicated

    November 28, 2023 at 7:14 am

    The earliest premature babies who lived and are thriving were born between 20-24 months gestation. That’s about 4-5 months pregnant for a woman. A logical nation would therefore ban abortions after 4 months.

    • rick whitaker

      November 29, 2023 at 9:40 pm

      ” 20 to 24 months gestation ” , are you talking about elephants ?

Comments are closed.


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