Abortion rights campaign is ready to go door to door across Florida
Abortion rights rally for Amendment 4 campaign in Orlando.

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Florida's 6-week abortion ban 'doesn't feel like this is the United States,' one critic said.

It took a grassroots effort to get the abortion rights initiative on the November ballot. Now, the Amendment 4 campaign, which raised $8 million during the first two weeks of June, is starting its first volunteer statewide canvassing drive this weekend.

More than 200 volunteers are signed up to go knocking on doors in Tallahassee, Gainesville, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Lakeland, Miami Beach and five other cities.

“We know that Floridians do not like to be told what to do. That resonates across party lines,” said Natasha Sutherland, Communications Director for the Yes on 4 campaign seeking to change Florida’s Constitution to end the six-week abortion ban and limit government interference on abortion.

“If we continue to fundraise on the track like we’re supposed to, we’ll get the message out there. … It’s really about getting in communities, talking to folks, reaching them where they are, making sure that they’re aware of this decision that they have in November.”

One early poll showed 61% support for Amendment 4, with as high as 10% also undecided. That poll had a margin error of +/- 4 percentage points.

The campaign held a press conference late Thursday to discuss the upcoming election and how Florida’s abortion ban is affecting clinics.

One new patient nine weeks pregnant arrived in Cherise Felix’s center this week.

The woman had a pregnancy that had gone wrong, but her regular doctor was scared by Florida’s new state law and refused to treat her. Felix said she took her on as a new patient.

Doctors are turning away more women with nonviable pregnancies or whose unborn babies have lethal anomalies, Felix said at a Thursday evening press conference organized by the campaign.

The doctor who has been practicing for 18 years said she sees her patients grappling with the six-week cutoff. “The wheels are turning,” Felix said. “What if I did not have this appointment today? What if somebody else couldn’t come until next week? What then?”

Adding to the urgency are crisis pregnancy centers that can waste a patient’s time so that it’s too late for them to get an abortion, Felix said.

Sometimes women whose pregnancies are past the six-week mark take measures into their own hands, Felix said.

“There’s a market, at least in South Florida, for fake methotrexate and fake misoprostol tablets, the medication that we use for our medication abortions,” Felix said. “I’ve had to pull out medications out of vaginas a lot in the past couple months, even before the ban hit, just as the talk was coming around.”

When patients ask how they can fight back, Felix said she sometimes feels drawn into politics, an uncomfortable position for a medical professional.

“There’s a lot of frustration and a lot of sadness and a lot of confusion about why this is happening … how politicians got to be so powerful in our clinics,” Felix said. “It just doesn’t feel real. Doesn’t feel like this is the United States.”

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


4 comments

  • Paul Passarelli

    June 21, 2024 at 11:18 am

    While I don’t necessarily agree with the idea of a six-week ban, I would add that an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.

    For the lefty-liberals that don’t understand that old adage, what it means is that if you don’t want to be pregnant, don’t have sexual relations. It’s not complicated.

    • JustBabs

      June 22, 2024 at 10:36 am

      Seems the “ounce of prevention” leaves a lot of women to suffer when there is a common protocol in treatment for these lost pregnancies. Now that is being withheld. Go home and come back when your bleeding to death. Cruelty seems to be the goal, here. Why can’t I obtain modern medical treatment based on MY beliefs and you can do the same based on YOUR beliefs?

  • Flash Light

    June 21, 2024 at 8:20 pm

    Ah, yes. The responsibility to prevent pregnancy still rests with women, right Paul?

  • MargaritaSenorita

    June 24, 2024 at 1:44 pm

    I’m sure they will be out in force on Halloween.

Comments are closed.


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