Guest opinion: DeSantis, Republicans want to roll back our reproductive rights even further

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In my mid 30's I suffered a miscarriage at 10 weeks gestation. My OB/GYN was able to perform a procedure known as a dilation and curettage (D&C) to remove tissue from the uterus. Not doing so would have led to sepsis or other serious complications, potentially within hours. It was an extremely difficult and emotional experience, but I was emotionally helped by the knowledge that up to 26% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and 43% of all women experiencing at least one miscarriage.

As difficult as my experience was, I was not alone. A close friend of mine suffered a burst fallopian tube and went into shock as a result of an ectopic pregnancy. She would have died had her healthcare providers not had the option to immediately remove this non-viable fetus from her body. Stories like these are incredibly common, and women deserve the best possible medical care in these situations — not politicians and judges inserting themselves into hospitals and delivery rooms.

But now that the Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade, I worry about all the women who might find themselves in similar situations. The conservative justices on the Supreme Court are ushering in a harsh new reality for women in this country, allowing Ron DeSantis and his radical Republican allies in the state legislature to make life a lot more difficult for women in Florida. The D&C procedure is the same one used for surgical abortion, and it may become dangerously difficult, or even impossible, for women to get this life-saving care during an emergency.

Lee County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Kari Lerner speaks to protesters at the protest of the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022 at the Old Lee County Courthouse in Fort Myers, Fla.
Lee County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Kari Lerner speaks to protesters at the protest of the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022 at the Old Lee County Courthouse in Fort Myers, Fla.

DeSantis began his attack on women’s reproductive freedoms earlier this year with his 15-week abortion ban, imposing his will into medical decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor. The Governor’s restrictive law makes no exceptions - not even for rape, incest, or human trafficking. Girls reach the ability to conceive as young as 9, which means a 3rd grader who was raped would be forced to give birth.

More: Guest opinion: Roe v. Wade: Now what?

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And DeSantis isn’t acting alone. State Senator Kathleen Passidomo of Lee County, gave us a preview of what’s to come when she was asked about Republicans’ plans to pass a complete abortion ban in Florida, with no exceptions. “There’s always a chance,” Passidomo said. “Right now we have a Republican majority...”

It is clear DeSantis and his allies are going to keep rolling back our reproductive rights. They have the votes to make Florida look like other states where women are being thrown in jail just for having a miscarriage. Imagine one of the most difficult times in a woman's life becoming an event that doctors would be required to report to law enforcement for investigation. Many women will avoid prenatal care in fear that if something goes wrong they can be prosecuted. That should frighten everyone in our state.

This reality could be coming to Florida very soon. It is no secret that Governor DeSantis wants to run for President and if he thinks a complete abortion ban with no exceptions will boost his national profile then that is exactly what he will do, no matter how many women he hurts in the process.

Kari Lerner is Lee County Democratic Party Chair.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade ushers in new reality for women