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'Terrifying new normal:' Planned Parenthood faces 6-week abortion ban

Radiologist says: 'I don't like to think of this as a ban. I like to think of it as protection'
Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 30, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Reproductive health care in Florida is changing dramatically.

The state's six-week abortion ban takes effect Wednesday. It's a point when many women don't even know they are pregnant.
 
At Planned Parenthood in West Palm Beach, leaders say their staff will stay as late as needed to make sure every patient on the schedule is seen until the clock strikes midnight and everything changes.

State

Pregnant Floridians referred to North Carolina as 6-week abortion ban begins

Forrest Saunders
7:10 PM, Apr 30, 2024

Michelle Quesada, the Planned Parenthood vice president of communications for southeast and north Florida, said it was a somber mood inside the clinic Tuesday. "It's tragic, it's frustrating knowing our staff has the skills and capabilities and resources to offer this care, but the law says we can't, and politicians without medical degrees are making these decisions and they are not the ones in the exam rooms with the patients," she said. "We have staff that are very compassionate with their patients, they care about their job, and they care about what's happening with reproductive health care so it's a really sad time."
 
Quesada added, "Even today we've already had patients that if they are beyond six weeks today, day one consultation, when they return 24 hours for their second consultation they are too far along, and we will not be able to offer that care."

She said they rearranged schedules to move up appointments from May to April. "It's been a very challenging time but it was important we moved those patients up to April, so they had enough time to make the right decision for themselves."

Michelle Quesada, the Planned Parenthood vice president of communications for southeast and north Florida, said it was a somber mood inside the clinic Tuesday. April 30, 2024
Michelle Quesada, the Planned Parenthood vice president of communications for southeast and north Florida, said it was a somber mood inside the clinic Tuesday. April 30, 2024

As of May 1, the six-week abortion ban will be in effect with certain exceptions.
 
According to the law, "Two physicians must certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, the termination of the pregnancy is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition."

Florida abortion ban exceptions
Florida abortion ban exceptions

 It also states there is an exception if, "the pregnancy has not progressed to the third trimester, fetus has not achieved viability under s. 390.01112 and two physicians certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality." Or if "the pregnancy is the result of rape, incest, or human trafficking and the gestational age of the fetus is not more than 15 weeks as determined by the physician. At the time the woman schedules or arrives for her appointment to obtain the abortion, she must provide a copy of a restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order or documentation providing evidence that she is obtaining the termination of pregnancy because she is a victim of rape, incest, or human trafficking."

Dr. Grazie Christie, an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said the Heartbeat Protection Act, as it's known, will do just that. "I don't like to think of this as a ban. I like to think of it as protection. And that's because these patients of mine that are very small inside their moms are just as much patients to me as their moms. They are dignified, they are human," she said. "If an elective abortion is going to be performed, it shouldn't be performed later."

Dr. Grazie Christie, a South Florida radiologist working with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said the Heartbeat Protection Act,  as it's known, will do just that. April 30, 2024
Dr. Grazie Christie, a South Florida radiologist working with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said the Heartbeat Protection Act, as it's known, will do just that.

Christie added that "it's very rare to find a mother or father say 'if only I had been able to abort my child.' I've never heard a parent say that. ... Expectant moms are going to find their health care in relation to their pregnancy isn't going to change. We treat the baby and the mother as dignified important patients to us, so nothing really is going to change except elective abortions."

State

What's next for Florida with abortion protections on ballot?

Forrest Saunders
5:52 PM, Apr 02, 2024

While supporters are glad to see this take effect, opponents hope it's only temporary, as Florida voters head to the polls in November and can choose to return Florida abortion laws to about 24 weeks.

Six-week abortion ban could affect vote in November