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Florida In Play: The Last Time Abortion Was On The Ballot Democrats Won


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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris walk along the Colonnade after Biden's remarks on the recent terrorist attacks in Israel, Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

The Biden-Harris campaign seized on Monday’s Florida Supreme Court ruling on the state’s 6 week abortion ban set to be triggered next month, saying that they see Florida “definitely in play” for the President, highlighting that reproductive rights are on the ballot in November’s election.

“It’s tough to ignore the electoral implications,” Florida State House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell said in a Biden-Harris campaign call with reporters in which PoliticusUSA took part. “The last time that Democratic presidential candidate won Florida was when there was an anti abortion measure on the ballot. So this is something that Floridians pay attention to and that was President Barack Obama in 2012. So I am optimistic that that it will pass the finish line in November.”

Obama won Florida in 2012 with support in part from Black, Hispanic and younger voters under 30, but it was an uphill battle. And indeed, an abortion measure was on the ballot, and it was defeated. That measure would have “prohibited the state from spending public funds for abortions or health insurance that includes abortion coverage.”

The group collecting signatures for the 2024 ballot measure, Floridians Protecting Freedom, collected “more than 1 million signatures and said about 150,000 signatories were registered Republican voters.”

Florida has not been a swing state for a while now, but post Roe, we have seen time and time again abortion freedom on the ballot having strong support, including some Republican crossover.

“We definitely see Florida in play and unlike Donald Trump, we have multiple pathways to 270 that we’ve been able to keep open,”
Biden-Harris 2024 Campaign Manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in the call. “We’ve been continuing to raise money at the clip that we need to to have, you know, multiple investments throughout the country and in key states like Florida, unlike Donald Trump, who doesn’t have the money, he doesn’t have the infrastructure and states are on the ground in order to get the coalition to be able to do so.”

“The overwhelming majority of Floridians think that we should all have the freedom to make our own personal health care decisions without interference from the government and in the effort to collect the number of ballot petitions required to have this go before the Supreme Court,” Driskell said while explaining why she thinks they have a good shot. “In order to do that they had to collect over a million petitions. And it was Democrats, Republicans and NPAs who signed these petitions.”

Trump is trying to respond to the power for Democrats behind the overturning of Roe for which Trump has claimed credit by taking refuge in the vague but dog whistle packed “state’s rights” argument. Trump, who has been found liable for rape, has said he would support a 15 week abortion ban and has said he thinks women should be “punished” for getting the medical treatment of abortion.

While the Florida abortion ban includes exceptions for rape, incest and human trafficking if they have been reported to authorities, these crimes are historically massively under-reported and can in certain circumstances put victims at risk when reporting.

The Florida abortion ban ruling does effectively ban abortion in Florida, as most women and girls do not even know they’re pregnant by 6 weeks, and thus in the Southeast.

The campaign notes “more than 17 million women of reproductive age live in Southern states with abortion bans in effect – many of whom currently rely on Florida as an option to access needed care.”

The abortion measure being on the ballot in Florida does put pressure on Trump and Republicans in a way that would not have existed without it. But even as we can see the clear electoral benefit for Democrats, who support women and girls’ freedom, we can’t forget all of those who will suffer and whose choices have been stolen from them as a result of this Republican abortion healthcare ban.

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