Florida Voters Will Decide Abortion Access In November | Crooked Media
April 01, 2024
What A Day
Florida Voters Will Decide Abortion Access In November

In This Episode

  • The Florida Supreme Court delivered bittersweet news to abortion rights advocates on Monday. In one ruling, the court gave voters the chance to enshrine abortion rights in Florida’s constitution by okaying a referendum to appear on the state ballot this November. But in a separate decision, the court also cleared the way for Florida’s six-week abortion ban to take effect in 30 days. Lauren Brenzel, campaign director for Floridians Protecting Freedom, explained the ballot initiative that now heads to voters and how the state’s impending six-week abortion ban raises the stakes.
  • The Israeli military on Monday ended its 14-day siege of Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital. The Gazan Health Ministry estimated that about 3,000 people were inside the hospital when the IDF began its raid. Meanwhile, in Israel over the weekend, thousands in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • And in headlines: A temporary shipping channel opened in the port of Baltimore, former President Donald Trump posted a $175 million dollar bond tied to his civil fraud case in New York, and Iowa defeated LSU and will head to the Final Four of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.


Show Notes:





Juanita Tolliver: It’s Tuesday, April 2nd. I’m Juanita Tolliver.


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson and this is What a Day where we’re buzzing over the news that America has an all time record of bee colonies. 


Juanita Tolliver: That’s from a recent Washington Post analysis of federal data. We might be turning the corner with colony collapse disorder. And I think Beyonce’s new album had a little something to do with this. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Our Lord and Savior, Beyonce Christ always does the good good. Okay. [music break] On today’s show, the latest from the Middle East conflict, including thousands of Israeli protesters calling for the ousting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Plus, we better not be getting a pandemic sequel, for the second time ever in the US, bird flu was detected in a human. 


Juanita Tolliver: But first, we got some bittersweet news out of Florida yesterday when it comes to abortion access. The good news is that the state’s Supreme Court gave the okay for a big abortion rights initiative to appear on the state ballot. It means voters will have a chance to enshrine abortion rights into the state’s constitution when they head to the polls this November. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Okay, that’s the good news. Break it to us. What’s the bad news? 


Juanita Tolliver: Well, in a separate decision, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled that the state constitution, as it stands now, does not protect abortion rights, undoing decades of legal precedent and paving the way for a six week abortion ban to go into effect in 30 days. The court said, quote, “we recede from our prior decisions in which, relying on reasoning, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected, we held that the privacy clause guaranteed the right to receive an abortion through the end of the second trimester.” That’s a direct nod to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision two years ago in Dobbs that overturned Roe v Wade. Now, the Florida decision had to do with the constitutionality of Florida’s existing 15 week abortion ban, which went into effect back in 2022. But yesterday’s decision by the court essentially gave the okay for an even more strict abortion ban to go into effect at six weeks. Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed that one into law last year, and he did it in the dead of night and posted a little raggedy picture on Twitter to celebrate the moment. Right. Like, come on. The law does have exceptions for rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies and medical emergencies. But the truth is that most people do not know they’re pregnant at six weeks. And Florida was one of the last states in the South where people could still get an abortion before 15 weeks, which is when the vast majority of people do. 


Tre’vell Anderson: So, practically speaking. What does this all mean for people in Florida now? 


Juanita Tolliver: It means that people will essentially have to vote this November for a way out of this Republican led push in Florida to severely restrict access to abortion. And because Floridians will be voting on an amendment to their constitution, they’ll need a supermajority of voters, 60% to vote in favor for it to be added. To learn more about the ballot initiative that will be in front of voters, I talked to Lauren Brenzel. She’s the campaign director for Floridians Protecting Freedom. That’s the campaign that helped qualify this abortion rights initiative on the November ballot. I started by asking her what she made of yesterday’s court decisions. 


Lauren Brenzel: My heart sunk when I saw that there was also a decision on the 15 week abortion ban. So we are just waiting now. In a month, there’s going to be a six week abortion ban in the state of Florida. Florida has 84,000 patients a year who will not be able to access care now. And it puts Florida’s patients in incredible danger. So it just shows why this ballot initiative is so important. 


Juanita Tolliver: I appreciate that you mentioned that 84,000 people last year received abortion care in the state of Florida, and Florida was one of the last states in the South to not have a near complete ban on abortions. You told the Washington Post, quote, “there is nowhere in the southeast that can absorb Florida’s patient base. It’s simply not possible.” So how does the impending six week abortion ban raise the stakes for this ballot initiative, not just for Florida residents, but for all residents in the South? 


Lauren Brenzel: The stakes, we knew were going to be high already, because all of us on this committee and on this coalition have worked in reproductive health care for a long time. So we know that politicians love to mess with reproductive health care. The impact of a six week ban will be devastating in the state in a way that I don’t think that politicians who haven’t worked in health care can understand. So there will be women who have serious medical circumstances who will be denied access to care. We know that that’s going to happen because it’s already happening in Florida. Anya Cook nearly died from a hemorrhage in a salon bathroom because she was denied a medically necessary abortion. And so most people access abortion care before 15 weeks. Most people access abortion after six weeks because they don’t know they’re pregnant before that. There are so many dangerous medical circumstances that will be created because of this six week ban going into effect. There hasn’t been this large of a public health crisis created from lack of abortion access since the overturn of Roe v Wade. 


Juanita Tolliver: And thinking about the regional impact as well. Like, what do you envision for the people who would conveniently go to Florida? Where could they go next in a month when the six week ban takes effect? 


Lauren Brenzel: Most of Florida’s patients actually are based in Florida. Um. Less than 10% come in from out of state. So when you think about the geography of Florida, we are surrounded mostly by water, and at our northern border, we’re surrounded by states that have some of the most egregious abortion policy in the US. 


Juanita Tolliver: Alabama. Georgia. Yes.


Lauren Brenzel: Yes. So there are two states still in the southeast that have care, North Carolina and Virginia. They see less than 55,000 patients a year, which means that the reality is that women are going to find out they’re pregnant in Miami-Dade County, and New York or Illinois are going to be the closest access points for them. And that is for an everyday Floridian, for somebody who is working class, for somebody who has children, for somebody who has a job that they can’t say, hey, I need to go get abortion, I have to take three days off. Unconscionable. So people will be forced to give birth. And then we have a state that has failed to create prosperous lives for families. So we don’t have expanded Medicaid here. We don’t have living wages. We don’t have a strong public education system. So you see how obviously this is related to controlling individuals bodies, not about supporting Florida’s children. Because if you wanted to support Florida’s children, you wouldn’t ask them to pull themselves up by the bootstrap once they were born. 


Juanita Tolliver: I do want to turn to the politics of this ruling for a second, because the Democratic Party has been struggling to gain any kind of foothold in Florida for years, as the state hasn’t voted for a Democrat in a presidential race since Barack Obama back in 2012. So how can Democrats capitalize on the momentum this ballot initiative will likely create in the 2024 election? 


Lauren Brenzel: We aren’t genuinely looking at this as a Democratic turnout operation. We’re looking at this as a group of individuals who care about reproductive health care. We’re lawyers who have fought cases in support of abortion access. We’re providers who have cared for patients. We are activists who have been in the drab halls of Florida’s Capitol building fighting anti-abortion bans. This is important for people to turn out for, no matter who they’re going to be voting for in a partisan election. It’s really not any of our business. What we care about at the end of the day is 84,000 patients who can’t go without access to care. 


Juanita Tolliver: So for our listeners in Florida, and frankly, for people outside of Florida, what can they do to help? 


Lauren Brenzel: We need eyes on Florida right now. Folks need to understand that there is a six week ban that’s about to go into effect. At the campaign, we’ll be doing all that we can to uplift resources so that people can know how to access care, even in the context of a six week ban. We also need folks to visit us at yes4FL.com. That’s yes, the number four, FL.com to learn more about how to support us, how to donate, how to volunteer. 


Juanita Tolliver: That was my conversation with Lauren Brenzel. She’s the campaign director for Floridians Protecting Freedom. And wherever you are, you can be a part of that fight in Florida and elsewhere. Just head to VoteSaveAmerica.com/fuckbans. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Thanks for that, Juanita. Now on to an update on the crisis in Gaza with a number of things to tell y’all about. First, after 14 days, the Israeli military yesterday finally ended its assault on Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital. And though Israel Defense Forces say they killed Hamas militants and seized some weapons in the bombardment, witnesses and Palestinian officials are focusing on the death and destruction Israel left behind them. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes, truly just horrific. Paint the picture for us. Just how bad is it on the ground right now? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So, you know, civilian buildings, like hospitals are supposed to be protected under international humanitarian law. But Israel has repeatedly said that Hamas fighters use hospitals and mosques to hide from Israeli attacks and to launch their own. And though Hamas has repeatedly rejected that claim, Israel is, you know, standing ten toes down and is using that supposed presence of Hamas in a place like Al-Shifa to basically bulldoze the area. The Washington Post had a reporter on the ground yesterday who wrote, quote, “the compound smelled of bodies and rot. Everything that could be broken, smashed or twisted was.” The Gaza Health Ministry estimated that about 3000 people were inside the hospital when the IDF began its raid on March 18th. And as of our reporting at 9:30 eastern Monday night, Gaza Civil Defense is reporting at least 300 bodies found so far. That official number will definitely rise as medical crews continue to survey the decimated area. And then an IDF spokesperson said that 900, quote unquote, “suspected militants” were detained over the two week operation and that 500 of them have been identified as members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad. 


Juanita Tolliver: Of course, much of that information out of Gaza cannot be independently verified. But since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th, we’ve slowly seen the international community rebuke the way Israel has been responding. As we approach the six month mark of this war, even Israelis are protesting their government. Tell us more about that. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So over the weekend, thousands of folks protested their Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with a mixture of demands, including Netanyahu’s immediate removal and a call for early elections. As you mentioned, the pressure and criticism from locals continue to increase. Many don’t believe that Netanyahu is properly prioritizing the return of hostages. Take a listen to some of the demonstrations, which are expected to continue through at least Wednesday. [clip of honking and noise] Now all of that being said, cease fire talks have resumed as of this weekend. No major progress to report yet. Unfortunately, though, both sides continue to disagree on how long the cease fire should be, the return of displaced Gazans, the release of Israeli hostages, among other sticking points. 


Juanita Tolliver: And what about the role of the United States in all of this? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, well, the Biden administration, which has become a bit more forward in its criticisms of Israel, held a virtual meeting with them yesterday. And it seems like the pressure from one of Israel’s biggest allies might finally be working maybe. According to a joint statement by the two groups, the meeting was about this planned Israeli offensive in the southern city of Rafah that the international community has been anticipating for some weeks. The US basically laid out some alternative proposals for the offensive that would keep civilians safe. And though Israeli officials said they would take the US’s concerns into account. We still don’t have clarity on what next might look like in this war. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some advertisements. [music break]




Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Tre’vell Anderson: A new temporary shipping channel opened in the Port of Baltimore yesterday. This lane will allow essential commercial boats, as well as wreckage clearing crews, to get around the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge and the cargo ship that crashed into it on March 26th. The removal of the bridge and ship is slowly coming along, and officials estimate it could take weeks to finish. And 21 crew members of the crashed ship are still on board, so they can maintain it until it’s moved. President Biden will visit the port this Friday to survey the damage. 


Juanita Tolliver: Former President Donald Trump posted a $175 million bond yesterday, tied to his civil fraud trial in New York. That means he’ll avoid having the state of New York seize his assets, at least for now. Trump initially faced a nearly half a billion dollar fine in the case. But last week, a panel of state appellate court judges said Trump could pay just over a third of that fine. The $175 million and delay paying the rest while he appeals the case. 


Tre’vell Anderson: At least one person in Texas has tested positive for bird flu. The Texas Department of State Health Services announced the reported case yesterday. They said that the person had been in contact with dairy cattle who were likely infected. Luckily, the person was experiencing some eye irritation as their only symptom and began taking an antiviral medication right away, according to the CDC. And the agency says the risk to the public and to food safety remains low. Human infection is pretty rare to begin with. It’s only the second time in the US that bird flu has been detected in a person. Meanwhile, there have been a handful of states who have reported bird flu cases in livestock over the last week. As for dairy, only milk from healthy cows is used to make food, and pasteurization ensures that all products are safe. Since a new variant of bird flu emerged in 2020, tens of millions of infected birds have died in the US. 


Juanita Tolliver: Very soon, fewer people will be able to see how many times I secretly googled Tre’vell Andersen feet. I mean because we all do weird stuff in incognito mode, right? [laughter] How flattered are you Tre’vell?


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, I got cute toes. What can I say? [laughter]


Juanita Tolliver: Well, on Monday, Google agreed to settle a federal class action lawsuit that accused the tech giant of harvesting people’s browsing data while they used incognito mode. For the Safari users, that’s the mode in Google Chrome that originally claimed to let you browse privately without being tracked. But in a 2020 lawsuit, plaintiffs said Google still collected data to sell ads and measure web traffic. Their lawyer said in the filing, quote, “Google has made itself an unaccountable trove of information so detailed and expansive that George Orwell could never have dreamed it.” If yesterday’s proposed settlement is approved by a federal judge, then Google would destroy billions of data records. The company would also let users block third party cookies, as well as be upfront that the company can still track people when they’re using incognito mode. I feel like they should just cancel incognito mode. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: It does not exist.


Tre’vell Anderson: It doesn’t make sense. [laughter]


Juanita Tolliver: No one will get any money either, but the settlement would permit individuals to file their own lawsuits against Google in California’s state court. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Also in California, many fast food workers across the state will be seeing a bump in their paychecks this week. As of yesterday, they’ll be getting paid at least $20 an hour due to a state law that passed last year. The law says that the pay increase applies to food chains with more than 60 locations nationwide. California, one of the country’s most expensive states, has more than half a million fast food workers, many of whom are immigrants and people of color. It’s a historically underpaid industry, so this pay increase is a huge win. Of course, this does mean that Californian’s Big Macs and burrito bowls might get a little pricier. Fast food franchises have announced upcoming plans to raise item prices to offset the wage increases. But remember that unions fought the good fight to make this pay increase a reality, so it’s worth it. I will also just note they already went up on the prices. Okay?


Juanita Tolliver: Yes they did. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Because it costs $6 for a large fry at McDonald’s. Okay, I’m just saying. 


Juanita Tolliver: And let’s not forget the beta testing of surge pricing that was announced earlier this year. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Oh oh Lord. 


Juanita Tolliver: They this was always the plan. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Right. 


Juanita Tolliver: It may be April, but you know, it’s still March Madness. Iowa beat LSU last night in the highly anticipated game of the Women’s Elite Eight. If you didn’t tune in, here’s what you missed. 


[clip of unspecified basketball clip] Clark again for eight three. 


Juanita Tolliver: LSU’s Angel Reese and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark are women’s basketball superstars, and they’ve stayed in the spotlight. LSU won their first NCAA championship last year against Iowa. And all of women’s college sport needs to thank these two women for really, really amplifying this at a global level. Because how much do you want to bet that the viewership for the Iowa LSU game is absolutely going to exceed any of the men’s Elite Eight tournament games? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, you are absolutely right. We got to give these ladies their kudos and their flowers because I don’t know nothing about sports, but I do know these two people. You know what I mean? Like, I know that they’ve been killing it–


Juanita Tolliver: Bless your heart honey. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –on the basketball court. [laughter]


Juanita Tolliver: And those are the headlines. 




Juanita Tolliver: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Help Floridians by going to VoteSaveAmerica.com/fuckbans and tell your friends to listen. 


Tre’vell Anderson: And if you are into reading and not just Google images of my feet like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


Juanita Tolliver: I’m Juanita Tolliver. 


[spoken together] And the beehives rise up. 


Juanita Tolliver: Yes. I just got to know what’s your favorite track off of Cowboy Carter? 


Tre’vell Anderson: The one about the Levi’s. 


Juanita Tolliver: Really? Interesting.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, girl, it’s the cute song. Okay. 


Juanita Tolliver: To hug the curves. 


Tre’vell Anderson: You know what it means.


Juanita Tolliver: Yes, I do. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Amen. [laughter] [music break]


Juanita Tolliver: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our associate producers are Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf. We had production help today from Michell Eloy, Greg Walters and Julia Claire. Our showrunner is Leo Duran. Our executive producer is Adriene Hill. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.