DeSantis, Florida’s GOP Legislature and Handpicked Supreme Court Are Dragging Florida Backwards

by | May 11, 2024 | Politics, Corruption & Criminality

Photo by Aiden Frazier, Unsplash

DeSantis, Florida’s GOP Legislature and Handpicked Supreme Court Are Dragging Florida Backwards

by | May 11, 2024 | Politics, Corruption & Criminality

Photo by Aiden Frazier, Unsplash

Anti-abortion forces, white evangelicals and others have made it clear that political ideology is much more important than women’s lives and that women have little value in their world.

Republished with permission from Florida Phoenix, by Barrington Salmon

May 1 or May Day is a European festival rooted in the ancient past that celebrates the beginning of summer. In Florida however, May 1, 2024 was a day of mourning because it will be forever seen as the first day of Florida’s heartless and dangerous six-week abortion ban.

As a consequence, millions of women in the state have had their reproductive healthcare protections snatched away by Gov. Ron DeSantis, his collaborators in the Florida Legislature and the menagerie of far-right extremists, the Republican elite, MAGA supporters, Christian nationalists and white evangelicals.

On May 1, women in Florida woke up to a grim and bleak reality.

Across Florida, abortion clinics are shutting down or preparing to do so, fear and trepidation among women seeking or needing an abortion is high and clinics in North Carolina, southern Virginia, Kansas and Illinois are bracing for a surge of patients now that the last bastion of abortion access in the South has fallen.

“At the stroke of midnight, another Trump abortion ban went into effect here in Florida … and today, this very day, at the stroke of midnight, another Trump abortion ban went into effect here in Florida,” Vice President Kamala Harris told an audience at a May 1 campaign event in Jacksonville. And “starting this morning, women in Florida became subject to an abortion ban so extreme it applies before many women even know they are pregnant. Which, by the way, tells us the extremists who wrote this ban either don’t know how a women’s body works, or they simply don’t care.”

Reproductive justice, health advocates and other experts have likened the Florida and Arizona abortion bans to earthquakes which have significantly altered America’s abortion landscape.

A world away in Arizona, the Arizona Senate voted 16-14 to repeal an 1864 Civil War-era abortion law that the state Supreme Court dredged up. The long-buried law bans all abortions except those performed to save a woman’s life. Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs wasted no time in signing the repeal. One problem is that the repeal won’t go into effect until 90 days after the legislature adjourns.

The repeal also means that the state has reverted to the 15-week ban that the archaic law superseded.

MAGA stalwart and Trump acolyte Kari Lake—who initially supported the 1864 law’s near-total ban on abortions—has flip-flopped on her position so many times and her support has severely damaged her prospects of winning the U.S. senate seat.

Anti-abortion forces, white evangelicals and others in that camp have made it clear that political ideology is decidedly more important than women’s lives; women have little value in their world or thinking which made it easy for them to orchestrate the theft of their rights. They seem unconcerned with making abortion care and access illegal or that women and teens and children who are raped by friends, strangers and family have no protection because of them.

What DeSantis and his far-right allies have been doing is part and parcel of a multi-pronged national strategy embraced and employed by America’s white conservative minority who are determined to ensure that a rising multiracial governing majority—comprised of African Americans, brown people and Democrats—never gets close to the levers of power.

The Battle Will Be Fierce

As we move into November, politically, the battlelines are drawn.

Both sides of this momentous, consequential and calamitous issue are wrestling each other and over the next six months, the battle will be fierce. The results of the November elections will show clearly which side triumphs.

This war on women is the most recent battle for America’s soul, if it has one. There’s a great deal at stake.

For a while, Floridians, including opponents of DeSantis’ anti-abortion crusade, appeared to be punch-drunk, pummeled by a steady succession of bills and laws which have curtailed civil liberties, disemboweled voting rights, erased African American history, attacked labor unions and harmed student protestors, gay and trans communities and bludgeoned teachers.

Now, Floridians and Americans are pissed, and Republicans are going to pay.

When they put into play the plan to pack the U.S. Supreme Court, neither DeSantis, former president Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kari Lake, Kellyanne Conway or the majority of the right-wing Arizona Supreme Court could not have ever envisioned the hornet’s nest they kicked over when they conspired to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In retrospect, if given the opportunity, I’m sure these cruel, coldhearted people would love to rewind the clock and get a ‘do-over’ but that train left the station a while ago.

Euphoria among the anti-abortion cabal and their accomplices has turned to absolute dread. Faced with widespread anger, public fury and passion, Republicans have been hastily backing away from the scalding issue, equivocating, attempting to reframe their positions, with some even lying that they never supported their misogynistic anti-abortion outlooks at all.

Dems Snatch the Offensive

To their credit, Democrats have snatched the offensive. VP Harris has been the tip of the spear on the abortion issue, crisscrossing the country staking Democrats’ position. While in Jacksonville, Harris hammered Trump, tying him to this abortion disaster.

“Donald Trump did it,” she asserted. “Because of Donald Trump, more than 20 states have abortion bans. More than 20 Trump abortion bans,” the vice president said. “… women woke up to a new reality.”

President Joe Biden, Harris and other Democrats are blaming Trump, DeSantis, Sen. Rick Scott and the far-right clique on the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Biden campaign has turned up the heat on Republicans with several ads castigating the Arizona Supreme Court, the legislative extremists, and demagogues, with Biden promising to “fight like hell” to restore reproductive rights across the nation.

Trump has said abortion laws should be left to the states, and while he has proudly proclaimed authorship of ending Roe, but when asked, he said he doesn’t know if he’ll vote for the November ballot initiative, refuses to say if he’ll sign a nation ban, and in a recent Time magazine interview, supports the idea of states monitoring the movements of pregnant women.

If they’re smart, Democrats will throw a good chunk of its resources not just in Florida but in the 11 states that have or are trying to get abortion ballot amendments before the public in November.

On a recent “Hacks on Tap” podcast, Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican operative and vocal anti-Trumper, gave Team Biden “some unsolicited advice to Team Biden about Florida: Light it up with ads.”

“If the election’s gonna have a big abortion war, and in most places that works for Biden, and you’re dripping in money—set Florida on fire,” Murphy said. “Throw a match. Florida is a pro-choice state and you got money. … Trump doesn’t have a complete lock on it. He has an advantage, but god, you can create a lot of trouble for him there.”

Florida Phoenix

Florida Phoenix

The Phoenix is a nonprofit news site that’s free of advertising and free to readers. We cover state government and politics with a staff of five journalists located at the Florida Press Center in downtown Tallahassee.

Follow Us

Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This