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AWCJ Statement in response to Florida Supreme Court Hearing Oral Arguments in Abortion Ban Challenge

From Kelly Flynn, President and CEO of the A Woman’s Choice clinics.

I opened A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville 21 years ago with the goal of providing compassionate, non-judgmental abortion care in our community. Abortions allow people to make fundamental decisions about their health, education, careers, futures, and the lives of the children they want to have.

My staff and I have been on the frontlines dealing with the aftermath of Florida’s 15-week abortion ban. In the more than a year it has been in effect, this ban has put the lives and health of Floridians and people of the South at risk. Abortion bans undermine the care we provide to patients who come to our clinic, often under complex and difficult circumstances.

I want to share with you an account of one of our patients who found out she was pregnant while living in her car and had only $200 in her pocket after her abusive boyfriend kicked her out of their home. Unable to access an abortion in Florida because of the 15-week ban, she had to travel nearly 400 miles to our clinic in Charlotte, NC to receive her care with the support of three abortion and practical support funds. The patient shared that she would have tried to self-manage if she was not able to receive care at our clinic. Today, with North Carolina’s 12-week ban, she wouldn’t be able to get her care there either.

Another patient who sought care in our Jacksonville clinic was a seventeen-year-old who drove over 2 hours with her mother from Georgia, where they were unable to access care because of Georgia’s six-week abortion ban. The patient and her mother struggled to find money for travel and lodging, further delaying her care. Once they were able to secure the funds, the patient was forced to miss several days from school to access care. When sharing her experience with our staff, she feared if she didn’t receive her abortion in Florida that she would have been forced to carry the unwanted pregnancy to term, halting her life before it truly began.

Barriers to accessing abortion in Florida, coupled with the financial circumstances, logistical hurdles, and other obstacles Floridians face, prevent many patients from arriving at our clinic by fifteen weeks, let alone six weeks. In fact, the vast majority of our patients at A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville receive care after six weeks. Even if a patient realizes that they are pregnant before six weeks, they will have a very small window to obtain an abortion.

Florida prides itself on individual freedom without government interference and abortion bans directly contradict who we are. A Woman’s Choice of Jacksonville has served as a crucial access point for abortion care in Florida and the South. We remain committed to providing abortion care to Floridians and attaining abortion justice for all.