Critics have said that DeSantis would use the new legislation as a tool to prevent Planned Parenthood from operating in the state.
Florida Governor Ronald DeSantis, a Republican who campaigned on a platform of anti-abortion views, said Monday that he doesn’t support law that could withhold state funds from women who choose to pursue abortions.
Appearing at a Florida Chamber of Commerce event, DeSantis said he does support taxpayer-funded abortions, per HuffPost. And he supports “prohibit[ing] taxpayer funding from being used for abortion”.
DeSantis was referring to a bill that was passed during the first half of 2018, with the Democratic leadership of the Florida House and Senate not on board. The legislation was designed to withhold state funds from women’s reproductive care providers such as Planned Parenthood.
Mike DeWine, a Republican, was elected Ohio governor last week and campaigned on a platform of rejecting federal money that funds Planned Parenthood and accusing the organization of profiting from abortions.
DeSantis faces Democrat Andrew Gillum in the Florida governor’s race on Tuesday. If he wins, the issue of abortion could also be an issue in his first 100 days in office.
The state of Florida has more than a dozen Planned Parenthood affiliates and 60 facilities that provide abortions. Both Gillum and DeSantis have said they oppose public funding for abortions.
Jennifer Mason, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Florida, said that abortion laws can cost the state and other states millions of dollars, “and the high stakes of the votes in Tallahassee mean that we will keep fighting”.
She added: “We are heartened that, on a statewide level, the foundation for Planned Parenthood and reproductive healthcare continues to take shape.”
DeSantis also said on Monday that he supports identifying abortions as a “crime”, per the Miami Herald. The Florida chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America said that the statement would lead to the arrest of doctors, contrary to the protection doctors receive as health care professionals.
According to a Gallup poll, more than half of Americans say that abortion should be legal in most or all cases.