'Cruel and Unusual': Senate Minority Leader Slams Six-Week Abortion Ban Going into Effect May 1st

'Cruel and Unusual': Senate Minority Leader Slams Six-Week Abortion Ban Going into Effect May 1st

Lauren Book in an online media avail slammed the six-week ban going into effect tomorrow

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 30, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book slammed the "cruel and unusual" nature of Florida's six-week abortion ban going into effect Wednesday, emphasizing that a proposed abortion amendment is the state's last chance at enshrining abortion rights for women.

On April 1st, the Florida Supreme Court dropped two landmark abortion decisions: the first allowed Amendment 4 to be placed on the November ballot, which would let women obtain abortions until fetal viability—around 24 weeks.

The second decision upheld Florida's 15-week abortion ban enacted in 2022. However, because the Legislature passed a six-week ban the following year, the six-week ban will replace the 15-week ban on May 1st, barring women from receiving an abortion more than six weeks after conception.

Victims of rape or incest get a small extension—they can receive an abortion up until 15 weeks, though they must provide some sort of documentation as proof of the sexual assault.

"This is a dangerous and disastrous day that we've been preparing for," Lauren Book, the Democratic Leader for the state's Senate, said on an online media avail. She said that after the ban goes into effect, women will have just three options to receive an abortion: have the money to travel to Maryland or Illinois—the nearest states protecting abortions, perform their own at-home abortions, or "claim they were sexually assaulted to have a little bit more time."

Book, who just finished walking the state of Florida to raise money and awareness about child sexual abuse, slammed the law's provision requiring a woman to provide proof of her sexual assault to get a deadline extension for an abortion.

"Having to rely on a police report or documentation...to receive appropriate healthcare when it comes to if you end up pregnant after a sexual assault is truly cruel and unusual punishment," she said, explaining that during her Lauren's Kids walk from Key West to Panama City she talked to survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking, and incest every day.

"It is cruel and unusual to force people who aren't ready yet to have to out themselves to their community," she added, noting that an anonymous man reached out to her saying he would put his name on women's restraining orders to help them get the sexual assault extension.

Rape is the most under-reported crime, with experts estimating that 63% of all sexual assaults are not reported to police, and a staggering 88% of child sexual abuse is not reported to authorities either.

Book turned to the politicization of abortion, acknowledging some Republicans calling Amendment 4 "radical" and "abortion on demand".

"This is not a Democrat vs Republican issue—this is policy over person or politics," she said, revealing that she worked with a series of MAGA Republicans to help get abortion protections on the ballot. She called her colleagues who passed first the 15-week ban and then the six-week ban "out of touch and out of step" with Floridians, claiming those issues were pushed to "help Ron DeSantis in his ambitions to run for President."

"It didn't work...I hope they have learned that culture war issues of the past don't bode well," she added.

She then touched on what she calls the "impossibilities" of the six-week ban's requirement for a 24-hour waiting period after seeking an abortion and a consultation with two separate physicians all within six weeks since conception, saying most women don't know they're pregnant yet.

Most women, experts say, realize they're pregnant between weeks four and seven, leaving women at the earlier end of the spectrum two weeks to make two separate appointments to get an abortion.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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