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June 3, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott Starts War on Florida Women by Signing First of Four Anti-Choice Bills

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued the following statement in response to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to sign the first in a series of anti-choice bills that open the door to political interference in women’s freedom and privacy.

“Instead of addressing the challenge of Florida’s staggering unemployment rate, Gov. Scott has signed into law the first bill of an extreme anti-choice agenda that invites state politicians to interfere in women’s personal, private decisions,” Keenan said. “This egregious list of bills is wildly out of step with the values and priorities of Floridians. Gov. Scott will soon be forced to explain to voters why he is more interested in advancing attacks on women’s health than putting Floridians back to work.”

The bill in question, H.B. 97, effectively bans private insurance coverage of abortion care in the state’s health-insurance exchange established under the federal health-care law. Nationally, 87 percent of private plans offer abortion coverage.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, which mobilized its 28,476 member activists in the Sunshine State against this agenda, identified the ways that the rest of Scott’s anti-choice agenda can affect women: 

  • H.B. 1127 mandates an ultrasound before a woman can access abortion care, even if her doctor doesn’t recommend it.
  • H.B. 1247 makes an existing state law that forces young women who cannot turn to their parents for support to get the permission of a judge before accessing abortion care even more extreme. Shockingly, it forces a young woman to appear before the court and list the medical risks of an abortion, and then justify why she is making the decision to choose abortion.
  • 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” (CPCs), anti-choice facilities that engage in manipulation, coercion, and that often spread misinformation to intimidate women to prevent them from accessing abortion care.

Additionally, the Florida Legislature has advanced H.B. 1179, a bill that 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. While this measure does not require Gov. Scott’s signature, it is a central component of his anti-choice agenda and will be placed before voters as a ballot measure in November 2012.

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