Planned Parenthood Leader Arrested, Stopped From Blocking Vote on Pro-Life Bill to Ban Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 18, 2022   |   10:53AM   |   Tallahassee, Florida

Florida police arrested a Planned Parenthood leader Wednesday after she allegedly disrupted a state House vote on a pro-life bill and later refused to give her identity to police.

Tampa Bay Times reports more than two dozen abortion activists screamed “My body! My choice!” from the state House gallery late Wednesday night as lawmakers prepared to vote on a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

State House Speaker Chris Sprowls called a temporary recess while police escorted the disruptive protesters from the building, according to the report.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said they arrested Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates statewide organizing director Lauren Brenzel on charges of “giving false name or false identification by person arrested or lawfully detained.”

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Police also gave trespass notices to 25 abortion activists who disrupted the meeting, WCJB TV 20 reports. The notice means that they are banned from the state House building for one year.

“Only those who were disruptive received a trespass notice,” a spokesperson for the department said.

On Twitter, Florida Politics journalist Jason Delgado said some abortion activists refused to leave quietly, shouting, “All cops are b——-” and “F— these pigs” as police escorted them out of the building.

Another video by Delgado showed abortion activists standing up in the gallery, pumping their fists and chanting “Shame! Shame!” before police removed them.

In a statement afterward, the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates supported the protesters’ disruptive behavior, describing it as “brave.”

“We stand in full support of our volunteers and staff who so bravely made their way to the Capitol not only on Wednesday night, but in the weeks leading up to the vote,” executive director Laura Goodhue said. “And we will continue to push back until this abortion ban is defeated.”

Lawmakers debated the pro-life legislation for more than five hours before passing the bill just after midnight.

State Rep. Dana Trabulsy, R-Fort Pierce, shared how deeply regrets her own abortion as she encouraged her fellow lawmakers to pass the bill, according to the Times.

“I was always pro-life, until I had a choice. And then I had a choice, and I selfishly made the choice to have an abortion,” Trabulsy said. “Not because something was wrong with my baby, not for any other reason than it just wasn’t convenient for me. It didn’t fit my narrative, it didn’t fit my lifestyle. I didn’t want a baby, so I had an abortion. It’s something that I have regretted every day since.”

Pro-life leaders estimate the bill could save as many as 5,000 unborn babies from abortions every year in Florida, and its lead sponsor, state Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, expressed strong hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court soon will rule such legislation constitutional.

The Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act (House Bill 5) would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk or the unborn baby has a fatal disorder. The bill, which would go into effect July 1, also includes measures to reduce infant mortality and a requirement that abortion facilities report suspected human trafficking cases to the state.

The bill now heads to the state Senate, where it also appears likely to pass. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a pro-life Republican, expressed support for the legislation earlier this year.

Polls consistently show strong public support for banning abortions after the first trimester.