FORT PIERCE, FLORIDA — On Monday night, during the debate between Governor Ron DeSantis and his challenger Charlie Crist, the governor was asked at what stage he believes a woman should be allowed to have an abortion.
“Well, I was thinking back to a poor woman over forty years ago in Jamaica. She found herself pregnant and didn’t think there would be much opportunity to have a child,” the governor said.
“I THINK IT’S BETTER WHEN EVERYBODY COUNTS”
Speaking about the mother of Renatha Francis, the recently appointed Florida Supreme Court Justice, DeSantis answered the question. Francis’ mother, “a poor woman, was urged to get an abortion, but for some reason, she didn’t go through with it,” DeSantis said.
“A few months ago, I appointed her daughter to be the first Jamaican American Justice in the history of the Florida Supreme Court,” the governor said. “I think it’s better when everybody counts. I understand that not everybody is going to be born in perfect circumstances, but I’d like to see everybody have a shot,” he added.
He further said that he is proud of Florida’s 15-week abortion ban that was put in place by the Legislature. And he went on to say that “Charlie Crist opposes that [pro-life stance] even though the baby is fully-formed and can feel pain, and can suck their thumb.”
SPECTACULAR RISE – EVEN ON MATERNITY LEAVE
Francis’s rise to the Florida Supreme Court has been spectacular. She’s a young black immigrant and mother of two born in the Caribbean. Her mother, a single mom, worked the farms while Francis helped raise her younger sister.
Later, she ran a trucking company and her own bar to help pay for college on the island before coming to the United States as an adult. When the Governor appointed her to the Supreme Court of Florida, she was still on maternity leave with her second child, a one-month-old boy.
Francis is the first non-Cuban American from the Caribbean to sit on the highest bench in Florida. She will also serve as the only woman and only black Florida Supreme Court justice since Peggy Quince, who retired in 2019.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled by Governor DeSantis’ unwavering support for my ascension to the Florida Supreme Court,” Judge Francis said in a statement released by the Governor’s Office in connection with her appointment. “As a Supreme Court Justice, I will apply the law as written by the people’s duly-elected representatives, knowing that I am a member of the judiciary in a system with separation of powers.”