Governor DeSantis Picks New Anti-Revival Fight
Govt. Ron DeSantis joins the chorus of conservatives criticizing the use of gender-neutral terms like “people giving birth” to describe pregnancies.
The national abortion debate has spawned a secondary front in the culture war in recent weeks, as some on the left have abandoned phrases such as “pregnant mothers” to be more inclusive of transgender men and non-binary people. During a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on abortion access on Tuesday, a University of California, Berkeley law professor called out the Republican U.S. senator from Missouri. by Josh Hawley “transphobic” comments when he questioned references to “people with childbearing capacity”, an exchange that drew media attention.
Speaking in Putnam County on Thursday, the Republican Florida governor took the opportunity to speak out on gender-neutral language when asked about implementing tougher anti-abortion laws.
“Some people in Washington, for example, can we actually agree that women get pregnant and men don’t? Because they don’t seem to be saying that,” DeSantis said. “It’s just amazing, some of the things you hear about it.”
The Hawley swap wasn’t the only time the language around pregnancy entered the national debate. Describing the President that of Joe Biden draft budget for fiscal year 2022 over a year ago, the administration exchange references to “mothers” with “people giving birth”, prompting criticism. And last month, in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups used gender-neutral language when describing abortion.
DeSantis made a point of fighting the “woke” culture. Last year he signed a law ban transgender women and girls to compete in women’s and women’s sports. And in April, he signed what he called the “Stop the wake up act” (HB 7) to prohibit courses and training that tell students and employees that they are inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive because of their race, color, gender, or national origin.
He also laughed “woke” companies like Disney, who spoke out against Florida law limiting discussions of gender and sexual identity by teachers.
DeSantis in April signed a 15-week abortion ban (HB 5) in the law, which Florida Republicans based on similar Mississippi legislation that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld 6-3 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. But by a slimmer margin of 5 to 4, a majority of the Court also overturned Roe v. Wade, opening up the possibility for Florida and other states to pass stricter laws.
However, Florida’s constitution directly outlines the right to privacy, which the Florida Supreme Court has ruled includes the right to an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. Republicans and the DeSantis administration expect dispute on the 15-week law to go to the state Supreme Court, where they hope the justices will overturn the state’s right to abortion.
DeSantis called the 15-week abortion ban the “best pro-life legislation” Florida has seen in decades.
“Basically, we’ve had, for many decades now, very sweeping state-level court decisions that really put us closer to China and North Korea when it comes to being very sweeping with the abortion policy, and so it’s not the appropriate thing for the courts to impose on the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
The DeSantis administration appealed a lower court ruling that initially ruled the abortion ban unconstitutional. The governor expects an appeals court to move the case forward soon, and the next question is whether the Florida Supreme Court will take the case.
“I think they probably will because I think it’s a really important thing for them to decide,” DeSantis said.