PANAMA CITY — The Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List has knocked on the doors of over 350,000 Florida homes within a year to protest Sen. Bill Nelson’s views on abortion, according to a news release from the organization. On Wednesday, the group made its way to the Bay County Courthouse.
“I held a 21-week-old abortion survivor for 45 minutes until he passed away, which inspired me to become involved in the fight to stop abortion and to join SBA List to elect pro-life leaders who will fight for life,” said Jill Stanek, SBA List national campaign chairman.
“We’re opposed because [Nelson] is an absolute radical when it comes to abortion,” said Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications. “We want to bring awareness to our field team efforts and future educate Florida voters. Oftentimes people don’t recognize how extreme he is.”
Nelson, in a statement from his office and in previous interviews, has said he is neither an extremist nor radical on the subject.
"While I am personally opposed to abortion, and believe it should be rare, I support a woman's right to make decisions about her health with her doctor, without interference from the governement," the statement read.
The SBA List held a press conference outside the courthouse, where members spoke about the lawmakers’ views and held signs that read: “Babies Lives Matter,” “I stand for the unborn” and more.
The pro-life group is upset with Nelson for his position in general, and specifically for voting to send taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood and his stance on Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act o stop abortions after five months, according to a statement from Stanek. Nelson was not present at the time of the vote.
“Florida is decidedly pro-life," Stanek said. "The number of abortions in Florida have dropped by 14 percent" since Gov. Rick Scott took office.
Quigley said the SBA List has been visiting homes since July to educate voters and sway them against Nelson.
The SBA List aims to educate voters about the positions officials take on abortion. The organization mixes politics and policy to achieve the goal, according to the SBA List website. The group has six staples it thrives off within its mission: elect, educate, train, promote, advocate and connect.
Pati Adams said she’s tired of lawmakers voting for measures they know nothing about.
The Pregnancy Resource Center of Panama City director said she now educates women about their pregnancies and options. Education was something she didn’t have before she had three abortions, she said.
She remembered the moment before she received her first abortion.
“The doctor told me: ‘In 15 minutes you’ll be back to normal.’ I’m a woman who lost three children from an abortion, and I was uneducated.”
Panama City resident Bethany Willis has four children, and said she feels strongly about every life, and every life is a blessing.
The SBA List also visited Pensacola on Wednesday. Press conferences were held in Tallahassee and Jacksonville on Thursday, and in West Palm Beach on Friday.