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Florida doctors say the Supreme Court's abortion ruling is a ‘crisis moment’

A woman in a white lab coat sits in front of an orange wall with picture frames.
Committee to Protect Health Care
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Dr. Cecilia Grande, an OB-GYN in Miami, asked Floridians to voice their concerns about the Supreme Court's overruling of Roe v. Wade to lawmakers.

Sarasota doctor Sujatha Prabhakaran said she and other physicians have been preparing for an influx of abortion patients into Florida, as neighboring states’ "trigger laws" go into effect.

Following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe vs. Wade, Florida physicians spoke out against the ruling in a conference held by the Committee to Protect Health Care.

Sujatha Prabhakaran, a physician at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said Friday's ruling and the state's 15 week-ban add to the confusion patients are already feeling about abortion access. In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, which goes into effect July 1.

“That law is cruel,” Prabhakaran said. “It has no exceptions for rape or incest and now we know that law law will be able to be enforced. When that law takes effect on July 1, Floridians will have significantly less access to abortion care. This is a crisis moment.”

Prabhakaran said marginalized and vulnerable populations are most at risk.

"People of color, people of diverse genders, people who have lower socioeconomic means — all of them will be profoundly impacted by this awful ruling,” she said. “Regardless of how hard we work to help them."

Hispanic women are twice as likely to undergo an abortion than white women in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Prabhakaran said it is important to let people know that abortions are still legal in Florida, for the time being.

“I want us to all take seriously the very real threat that is faced here in Florida,” Prabhakaran said.

The Sarasota doctor said she and other physicians have been preparing for an influx of abortion patients into Florida, as neighboring states’ “trigger laws” go into effect.

She said Planned Parenthood’s patient navigation program and patient navigator staff members are working to help people travelling get access to an abortion in Florida.

“Despite all of that help, we know people will still not be able to access the care that they need,” Prabhakaran said.

Cecilia Grande, an OB-GYN in Miami, asked Floridians to urge politicians to restore these rights.

Grande said she is concerned Florida lawmakers may target contraceptives next.

“I am a little worried that if things remain as they are, we may have also some restrictions on other options for contraceptives that are not abortion,” Grande said. “Like it's happening in other states."

More than 2,500 medical professionals have signed the committee's petition for the Supreme Court to protect abortion access.

Jack Prator is the WUSF Rush Family Radio News intern for summer of 2022.