National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

12K call on Fla. gov. to veto antiabortion-rights bill

Abortion-rights supporters on Thursday urged Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to veto an omnibus antiabortion-rights bill (HB 1411) that would impose a number of new restrictions on abortion providers, the Tallahassee Democrat reports (Call, Tallahassee Democrat, 3/17).

Scott has until March 26 to act on the bill (News 4 JAX, 3/17).

Bill details

The Florida Legislature passed the bill, sponsored by state Rep. Colleen Burton (R), earlier this month.

The bill would prohibit local health departments from allocating public funds to organizations affiliated with abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, for family planning services and other reproductive care for low-income residents. A ban on allocating public funds for abortion care is already in place.

The measure also would require clinics that offer abortion care beyond the first trimester to have admitting privileges for their physicians at a local hospital and also have a transfer agreement with a hospital in the area. Clinics that offer abortion care only in the first trimester would be required to have one of these two types of agreements.

Further, under the bill, any facility that offers abortion-related counseling to women would have to register with the state unless they counsel women to not have an abortion. The measure also would ban the sale, purchase or donation of fetal tissue resulting from abortion. In addition, the bill would make clinic inspection requirements more stringent and redefine gestation and pregnancy trimester dates, which would affect when providers can offer abortion care (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/11).

Abortion-rights supporters urge veto

On Thursday, abortion-rights supporters delivered about 12,000 petitions to Scott's office, urging the governor to veto the measure (Tallahassee Democrat, 3/17). Opponents of the bill say it is an effort to limit women's access to abortion care.

Regina Sheridan, a volunteer with Planned Parenthood who helped deliver petitions, noted that the bill targets clinics that offer cancer screenings and preventive care to low-income women. "I am worried about the future of women," she said, adding, "I have heard many stories of women that I have spoken to who lived before Roe v. Wade, and had to live in a world where abortion was not legal. They had friends and family members who died in back-alley abortions" (News 4 JAX, 3/17).

Sheridan said opponents of the measure would challenge the measure's constitutionality in court if Scott signs the bill into law (Tallahassee Democrat, 3/17).