Tampa Bay Abortion Fund Shares Critical Resources as 24-Hour Waiting Period Goes Into Effect
The Tampa Bay Abortion Fund explains how the law will impact people seeking abortion in the Tampa Bay area
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TAMPA, Florida — April 11, 2022 — The Tampa Bay Abortion Fund (TBAF) is taking steps to educate and assist pregnant people seeking abortions in the Tampa Bay area in the wake of a Florida circuit court decision to require a 24-hour waiting period before receiving abortion care.
This decision ends a challenge to the 2015 law forcing patients to make two separate, in-person trips to a clinic — once to meet with a physician and once, at least 24 hours later, to receive care.
“This law will delay abortion care for many,” says TBAF Board President Kris Lawler. “It is demeaning, intrusive and will raise additional barriers for many people in receiving essential health care.”
Abortion waiting periods have been proven medically unnecessary. However, a similar law in Mississippi led to a 53% increase in later-in-pregnancy abortions, which are more expensive and will soon be more difficult to access in Florida. The state legislature recently passed HB5, which bans abortion after 15 weeks and is poised to take effect on July 1, 2022. Florida’s mandatory delay law singles out abortion and does not apply to other medical procedures, even those that involve far greater health risks. An expert panel convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2018 found that requiring a waiting period before receiving an abortion may increase both the risk of complications for the patient and cost of the procedure, with no evidence that waiting periods improve abortion safety. Waiting periods serve little purpose other than to force more people to miss more work, lose more wages and spend more on transportation and child care, potentially causing them to delay seeking an abortion.
In preparation, TBAF is continuing its educational campaign about self-managed abortion, providing pregnant people in the Tampa Bay area with comprehensive, evidence-based best practices for ending a pregnancy via the use of abortion pills. “We already live in the age of self-managed abortions and have been for two decades,” says Lawler. “Whether a person obtains their medication from a local abortion provider, or purchases them from a verified provider, the dosage, instructions and potential medical risks are all identical. It is this information that we are determined to get into the hands of those who may need it.”
Medication abortion administration is no different regardless of whether the medicine came from a clinic or an online provider. However, it remains legally risky for those in Florida to obtain medicines outside of current Florida regulations, which includes a requirement of two in-person visits to a licensed abortion provider. “Instructions for medication abortion were created by the World Health Organization, and it is those protocols that clinics use,” said Lawler. “Sharing those protocols is an act of public education we believe is essential for protecting public health.”
TBAF is also building volunteer and fundraising capacity to help address the current and future needs of their clients, including abortion funding, child care and transportation to clinics locally and, in the months to come, partner clinics in abortion-friendly states like Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. To volunteer your time or donate visit tbafund.com.
ABOUT TAMPA BAY ABORTION FUND:
The Tampa Bay Abortion Fund removes financial and logistical barriers to abortion access. TBAF currently assists callers with appointments at seven local Tampa Bay clinics and several partner clinics out-of-state. TBAF is volunteer-run and funds our callers through donations and grants.