Tampa abortion group says new law isn’t a complete hurdle

TAMPA, Fla. — Although she knows it was likely to happen, Tampa Bay Abortion Fund founder Kelly Nelson told ABC Action News Thursday’s signing of House Bill 5 was still hard to watch.

“I find it very embarrassing that Florida joins some of the other states that have done this kind of action,” she said.

Nelson said the new law, which comes into effect on July 1, will affect about 300 of their customers this year.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase during COVID,” she said.

During the signing of the bill, Governor DeSantis said the law was intended to preserve life beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“We see it in terms of protecting life,” he said.

But Nelson said the group’s clients, across the state, have many reasons for needing access to abortions beyond that time.

“Maybe they didn’t know they were pregnant at 15 weeks or maybe they couldn’t leave work to see a doctor,” she said.

Supporters of the new law, like Florida State Senator Kelli Stargel, celebrated the bill’s final approval on Thursday.

“Hopefully in the future we won’t have any more abortions and every baby will be wanted no matter when they are conceived,” she said.

In the meantime, Nelson’s group is moving forward and finding new ways to help their customers.

“We intend to get people out of the state,” she said. “We have plans with other clinics where we have put in place memorandums of understanding to work with out-of-state clinics. We have new plans with out-of-state hotels that we don’t have. have never worked before.”

Nelson also told ABC Action News that the fund helps pay for abortion procedures that cost an average of $560 in the first trimester. But they also help with expenses such as transportation, childcare, and even hotel stays, which can cost their customers an average of $200.

For more information on the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, click here.

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