Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs HB 1411, defunding Planned Parenthood
Law also attempts to redefine pregnancy trimesters
Last week was a comprehensive stretch for news stories around the world.
Putting it mildly, in fact.
Things began Monday with the tragic attacks in Brussels, which then created a hailstorm of Islamophobic responses from the GOP front-runners. Outside of politics, there were further developments in Rick Snyder’s negligent handling of the Flint Water Crisis, along with newly legalized discriminatory policies in North Carolina aimed at LGBTQ persons.
With all of these injustices, it was easy to miss Florida at the latest effort from state GOP leaders to deny women reproductive rights, with Governor Rick Scott signing a sweeping anti-abortion bill into law Friday.
The law, HB-1411, defunds Planned Parenthood along with all state funding for clinics that provide abortions. This additionally means removing Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program, which is actually illegal and will likely result in legal action taken by women’s rights advocates. The law then further requires physicians who provide abortions to have “admitting privileges” with a nearby hospital, a tool which has discretely been used to shut down abortion clinics in many other conservative states nationwide.
Florida is just the latest state to succumb to anti-abortion activism since inflammatory propaganda videos were released last July claiming that Planned Parenthood “sells baby parts” to fetal tissue researchers. Despite a litany of investigations which found no evidence to justify these claims, anti-abortion lawmakers still use the videos as an excuse to attack the organization’s funding, conveniently overlooking the fact that abortion services represent a tiny share in the overall health services the organization offers to women. According to the NY Times, 23 states have attempted to sever its ties with the organization since the videos were released.
11 have succeeded. It is believed that Arizona and Missouri will make it 13 in the coming months.
Lawmakers like Rick Scott disastrously mislead the impact this has on women’s health care
Similar to John Kasich marginalizing Planned Parenthood by kicking it out of programs that promote maternal/infant health and prevent HIV – which public health officials have warned about other providers inability to compensate for their removal – Governor Rick Scott is claiming that defunding the organization won’t have a negative impact on health care because other organizations will step up and pick up the slack.
This a juvenile explanation at best, and an outright slap in the face coming from a person who will never need sexual health screenings, mammograms, or anything else privy to women’s health in actuality. Florida officials have offered bogus lists of so-called “providers,” which include among them dentists and elementary school nurses’ offices.
It is patently obvious that these types of suggested alternatives do not have the capacity, experience, or legitimacy to be handling women’s health issues.
As though this was not damaging enough, the bill also attempts to redefine pregnancy trimesters, saying that the second trimester of pregnancy starts at 12 weeks, when the accepted medical definition is actually 14 weeks.
While this is a minor grievance, to be sure, it offers further proof as to the ignorance of lawmakers on how a pregnancy actually works.
Democrats, you need to not only focus on national elections this November.