Both Florida and Indiana have marched forward in their path to creating hurdles for women to access quality reproductive health care.
The Palm Beach Post on Wednesday reported the Florida House has passed six anti-abortion measures. Various house and senate bills would cover the following six topics, according to the Post:
- Ultrasound: Would require women to have an ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus before getting an abortion. Would allow women to refuse to review the ultrasound if they do so in writing.
- Abortion clinics: Would prohibit abortion clinics from doing third trimester abortions. Also would create new requirements for abortion clinics, including that any opened after Oct. 1 be wholly owned and operated by a doctors, and for doctors providing abortions, including that they get annual ethics training. Also would require that abortion providers report to state health officials after every abortion rather than the current monthly reporting.
- Parental consent: Would change current parental notification laws to make it more difficult for minors to obtain court waivers allowing them to get abortions without their parents’ consent. Gives judges less leeway when determining a minor’s maturity to make a decision about abortion. Requires the girl to go to court in the circuit where she lives instead of within the larger appellate district. Gives judges three business days instead of 48 hours to consider the cases.
- Public funding: Would put a question on the November 2012 ballot asking voters whether the Florida constitution should be amended to ban public funding for abortions and health-benefits coverage for abortions. Allows public funding for rape, incest and to protect the mother’s life, and would not apply to expenditures required by federal law. Also specifies that the Florida constitution may not be interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those in the U.S. Constitution, which would effectively weaken the right to privacy now contained in Florida’s constitution. Needs 60 percent of vote in each chamber to go on ballot and 60 percent of public vote to pass.
- License plates: Would channel money from “Choose Life” license plate sales to the nonprofit Choose Life Inc. to give to agencies that assist women placing their children for adoption. Also would allow 20 percent of tag sales to be spent on administration and advertising by Choose Life Inc. Current law sends money to the counties where the tags were sold and requires 100 percent of it to be used to support agencies counseling or helping women who choose adoption. New law, like current one, prohibits any money going to any agency having any involvement with abortion, including counseling women that it is an option.
- Abortion insurance: Would bar insurance policies purchased in whole or in part through insurance exchanges created by the federal health-care act from providing abortion coverage. Would bar businesses receiving tax credits for providing health insurance for their employees from offering policies that cover abortion.
In Indiana, Gov. Mitch Daniels has indicated he will sign a bill that defunds (I guess that’s a word nowadays) Planned Parenthood. The Indiana Legislature last weekpassed HB 1210, which would eliminate $2 million Planned Parenthood receives from the federal government funneled through the state. Also, the bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks.
While I have a problem with both bills passed by both legislatures, Florida’s bill that would allow 20 percent of tag sales to be used for the administration and advertising for Choose Life Inc. is a thorn in my side. I can understand using proceeds from tag sales to benefit a respective nonprofit organization as Georgia has a list of special license plates that go to various groups.
If I were a Florida taxpayer, I would have a problem with my dollars being used to help bolster an organization’s advertisement. Furthermore, why is it preferable in legislators’ eyes to channel money to anti-choice organizations such as Choose Life, Inc. instead of going to organizations that counsel women on their many options after learning they are pregnant, which would include abortion?
Also, using funds for administration implies this money could be used to possibly staff and pay the salaries of anti-choice advocates dedicated to the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Most taxpayer donating to nonprofit organizations are adamant about making sure their money isn’t being used to fatten the wallets of those running the show and nonprofits are typically more than willing to demonstrate that minimal donations are being used in that manner. This provision of the Florida bill clearly shows the state legislature is more than willing to use taxpayer dollars to contribute to the salaries and “administration” of an organization dedicated to dismantling the constitutional protection of a right to an abortion.
All this meddling by lawmakers in my uterus and my home makes me nauseous and disgusted. Even though I’ve become numb to the assaults by anti-choice activists and politicians upon my right to a safe abortion, I continue to be dismayed by the never-ending attempts to roll back my constitutional rights as a woman to an abortion.