Governor’s race to decide future of reproductive rights in Florida

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Anti-abortion protestors outside a Planned Parenthood in south Fort Myers, Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Credit: WINK News

Reproductive rights are poised to become one of the defining issues in the Florida governor’s race, with Democratic nominee Charlie Crist and incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis occupying diametrically opposed positions on abortion.

Crist says he will sign an executive order giving women in Florida the right to choose if he wins the governorship. DeSantis, meanwhile, signed a much-contested bill into law that banned abortions in the state after 15 weeks.

Protestors sat outside the Planned Parenthood health center in south Fort Myers on Wednesday with signs urging people not to get an abortion. WINK News spoke to some of them and to Planned Parenthood personnel about their opinions on Crist’s plan to protect abortion rights and DeSantis’ current legislation against them.

“My fear is how many more women [Crist is] going to harm,” said protestor Kandy Mary Hagge. “I know they see our movement as taking choices away. But we’re not — we love these people. Abortion is not the answer.”

Anti-abortion protestors outside a Planned Parenthood in south Fort Myers, Wednesday, August 24, 2022. Credit: WINK News

“I think we are at a crisis moment where the future of health care for women in Florida is either going to get significantly worse and continue on the track it’s been on under Gov. DeSantis, or it’ll get significantly better if we elect an unapologetically pro-choice governor and unapologetically pro-choice candidates up and down the ballot,” said Annie Filkowski, political director with the Florida Planned Parenthood PAC.

Political experts say big national issues like reproductive rights will decide many of the races across the U.S. this November.

“I was raised with three sisters; I respect women; I’m an only son,” Crist said. “[DeSantis] doesn’t respect your right to choose about your health care and your body.”

“This state is worth fighting for,” DeSantis said. “Our country is worth fighting for. So, put on the full armor of God and take a stand against the left’s schemes. Stand firm for truth. We’ve accomplished an awful lot in Florida, more than anybody thought was possible when I got elected less than four years ago, but we’re just getting warmed up.”

On Wednesday, DeSantis’ 15-week abortion ban overcame a temporary injunction that would have blocked its enforcement, thanks to the 1st District Court of Appeal.

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