Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 167 into law April 14. This law, to be put into place July 1, is a state ban on abortions after 15 weeks which limits a woman’s right to vital health care.
However, there is still light to be found in this dire situation. The law has put a spotlight on how women band together in a time of community crisis.
In response to the bill, groups have been formed to help women in abortion-restricted states find the health care they need.
HB 167 is going to result in many Floridian women who need abortions to be left unable to recieve this crucial health care.
In 2021, 74,756 abortions were performed in Florida, according to a January report by the State Agency for Healthcare Administration.
Of these, 4,491 were in the second trimester, after the cutoff under this new law. This number may seem insignificant when compared to the number of total abortions, but this law is merely a stepping stone to further human rights violations.
Still, hope is not lost for Floridian women. While their government has failed them, online communities of women have banded together to help sisters in need. Organizations like the Haven Coalition, the Brigid Alliance and the Jane Coalition.
R/auntienetwork on Reddit is a grassroots organization formed in response to Alabama’s 2019 “Human Life Protection Act,” a statute enacted that served as a near-total ban on abortion.
Now known as the Jane Coalition, the Auntie Network is comprised of women volunteers or “Aunties” across the country that provide assistance to those who need help accessing reproductive services or an abortion.
Aunties will pay for and mail health products, including birth control and Plan B, to those who live in areas where those items are heavily restricted. They can also provide a place to stay to those that have to travel out of their home state for an abortion or other reproductive service.
This is an incredible example of women going out of their way to help other women in need during a reproductive health crisis like that which will be caused by DeSantis’ HB 167 in Florida.
Organizations like these will be vital to protecting the rights of Floridian women.
In a 2022 statewide poll, 57% of registered voters were opposed to the law, with only 34% supporting it, according to the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab.
DeSantis is acting on his own agenda, not the wants or needs of his constituents. This law sets a precedent for future attacks on human rights in Florida, as the government blatantly disregards its people.
Where governments have failed, the national community of women has picked up the slack.