The War on Florida Women

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Ted Miller, 202.973.3032

The War on Florida Women

Gov. Rick Scott (R) is poised to sign five anti-choice measures that will undermine women’s health and privacy in the nation’s fourth-largest state.

WASHINGTON - Rather than making good on their promise to focus on jobs and the economy, Florida lawmakers spent their five-month legislative session launching a War on Women, passing five anti-choice measures that attack the fundamental values of freedom and privacy. All five measures now await Gov. Scott’s signature.

Florida is the nation’s fourth largest state, and the decisions made at the state level affect millions of women and their families. Rather than spend his time turning around the economy, Gov. Scott is preparing to sign into law one of the most divisive social-policy agendas introduced in any state during the 2011 legislative session.

Below is a guide to the anti-choice bills on Gov. Scott’s desk:

Interfering in the doctor-patient relationship through mandatory ultrasounds (H.B. 1127)

This bill invites Florida lawmakers to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship by forcing a woman to undergo an ultrasound before receiving abortion care, even if she does not request it or her doctor does not recommend it. So far this year, similar legislation has been adopted in Arizona, and is soon to be signed into law by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).

Prohibiting private insurance coverage of abortion care in the state health-insurance exchange (H.B. 97)

This bill effectively bans private insurance coverage of abortion care in the state’s health-insurance exchange that’s being established under the federal health-care law. Nationally, 87 percent of private plans cover abortion care.

Taking away insurance coverage of abortion care interferes in a woman’s ability to make personal, private decisions with her doctor.  Under the new bill, women, even those who experience heart-breaking complications, will be forced to pay out of pocket for abortion, even if it’s necessary to protect their health.

More onerous restrictions that jeopardize young women’s health and safety (H.B. 1247)

Florida already has an anti-choice law on the books that forces young women who cannot turn to their parents for support to get the permission of a judge before accessing abortion care. H.B. 1247 makes this process even more egregious. As one example, it forces a young woman to appear before the court and list the medical risks of an abortion, and then she must justify why she is making the decision to choose abortion.

Young women should talk to their parents about an unintended pregnancy. Fortunately, most do. But those who can’t often have good reasons—and in those cases, the first priority should be the young woman’s safety.

Currently, 43 states have laws on the books that restrict young women’s access to abortion.

Taxpayer funding for fake clinics (H.B. 501)

H.B. 501 establishes a state-sanctioned “Choose Life” license plate. State money raised from the sale of this plate would be funneled to fake clinics called “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPC). These anti-choice facilities often engage in manipulation, coercion, and spread misinformation to intimidate women to prevent them from accessing abortion care.

Changing the constitution (H.B. 1179)

Sadly, Florida already has a law on the books that prevents state dollars from being used to fund abortion care. Now, Florida lawmakers want to make this discriminatory restriction part of the state constitution. H.B. 1179 starts the process of amending the Florida’s constitution to prohibit state funding of abortion care, with no exception when a woman’s health is at risk. The measure could be on the state’s ballot in November 2012, which, of course, coincides with the presidential election.

Want more information?

In addition to legislation in Florida, NARAL Pro-Choice America tracks bills on a number of choice-related issues across the country. Please feel free to consult a mid-session update of state legislative sessions that we released on April 28.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please contact Ted Miller or Reesa Kossoff in the communications department at (202) 973-3032 or by email: TMiller@ProChoiceAmerica.org or RKossoff@ProChoiceAmerica.org

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For more than 30 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the nation's leading advocate for privacy and a woman's right to choose. With more than one million members and supporters, NARAL Pro-Choice America is fighting to protect the pro-choice values of freedom and privacy. With the Supreme Court one vote away from overturning Roe v. Wade and many state legislatures under anti-choice control, our work has never been more important.

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