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2018 FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE REPORT

The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates FAPPA) is the nonpartisan advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood health centers in Florida. In partnership with more than 700,000 activists, supporters and donors in the state, FAPPA advocates for access to our 22 health centers where patients receive nonjudgmental, compassionate and affordable quality care. With nearly 78% of Planned Parenthood health centers in medically underserved areas, Planned Parenthood continues to be a trusted provider for communities in need. 

For 45 years since the decision in Roe v. Wade, it’s been clear that the constitution protects every woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions about abortion. Yet politicians in Florida will stop at nothing to end access to reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion. We have seen Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature signing into law bill after bill that would continue to limit access to critical reproductive health care services. 

These attacks have fueled an unprecedented mobilization of people, with women leading the charge. In 2017, we started marching – tens of thousands strong – in cities across Florida, the nation and the globe, giving voice to the concerns of women and families. In 2018, we remain strong. In coalition with partner organizations across the country and state, we met, called, emailed and sent petitions to legislators to advocate for the well-being of Floridians. Because of this powerful movement, we were able to defeat one of the most dangerous anti-reproductive health bills that Florida has ever seen. 

2018 Session by the Numbers

36 legislator office visits by volunteers

59 people representing Planned Parenthood visited the Capitol

36 positive articles on reproductive health

37,692 new supporters

The Method Ban bill (HB 1429/SB 1780) attempted to ban the most common method of second-trimester abortion, known as dilation and evacuation (or “D&E”). Under this unconstitutional bill, physicians would have been forced to use additional procedures on their patients that are not necessarily as safe, or may not be what their patients, based on their professional medical judgment, think is best. If this bill had become law, some physicians may have been unwilling to perform abortions in a way that goes against their best medical judgment, potentially limiting the availability of second trimester abortion in Florida. This bill is not based on a desire to improve women’s health, but rather aims to eliminate access to abortion as part of a larger anti-abortion strategy to ban abortion altogether. This legislation drew strong opposition from leading health care organizations and concerned Floridians and died in the Senate committee process. The legislation did pass through the House, an indication of the hostile environment in the House toward reproductive rights.

Unfortunately, a bill did pass this legislative session that aims at misleading women who are looking for comprehensive health care, particularly when women are pregnant and need timely access to comprehensive care. HB 41/SB 444 codifies into law Crisis Pregnancy Centers (or CPCs) that oppose abortion and judge, shame, and intentionally try to trick women out of getting the care they are seeking.

These fake clinics are created solely to “promote and encourage childbirth” and often deceive women into believing that they will be able to access comprehensive care and medically accurate information and instead encounter staff attempting to prevent them from obtaining an abortion or other reproductive health care, such as contraception. When a woman has decided to seek birth control or discuss all her reproductive health options, she deserves to be able to access that care from a qualified medical provider. The legislative leadership prioritized this legislation and it passed even with strong opposition in both the House and Senate. It now awaits the Governor’s approval. 

No matter who leads the Florida Legislature, Planned Parenthood will fight to ensure that access to reproductive health care is defended. We believe deeply in the right of all people — no matter who they are, where they live, or what they earn — to make their own personal decisions about their bodies, their families, and their life’s path, without political interference. This report provides an overview of the bills that the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates worked on, in conjunction with our allies and supporters, during the 2018 Legislative Session.

Planned Parenthood supporters took 11,421 online actions during session.

Anti-Reproductive Health Legislation

SB 1890/HB 1429 “Method Ban” by Sen. Mayfield, Reps. Grall, Gruters

Co-Sponsors: Reps. Ahern, Albritton, Altman, Burgess, Byrd, Donalds, Fant, Gonzalez, Magar, Massullo, McClain, Plakon, Spano, Sullivan, White, Yarborough 

SB 1890/HB 1429 was legislation designed to ban dilation and evacuation abortions. D&E abortions are the safest and most common abortion procedure for women in the second trimester. Providing these procedures could have led to criminal charges for the provider. The only exception in providing of D&E abortions would have been if the patient’s health was at risk and no other procedure could safely have been performed. In six of the eight states which have seen similar legislation, these laws have been found unconstitutional.

STATUS: Made it to the floor in the House of Representatives. Did not see any legislative action in the Senate.  See the House floor vote at ppfla.org/MethodBanVote.

 

SB 444/HB 41 “Pregnancy Support and Wellness Services” by Sen. Bean, Rep. Toledo 

Co-Sponsors: Sens. Steube, Baxley, Mayfiel; Reps. Ahern, Altman, Burgess, Fischer, Grall, Spano, White, Yarborough 

SB 444/HB 41 will establish “Pregnancy Support Services”, or Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) as legitimate wellness centers. CPCs have been receiving state funding to support and promote child birth and have not been under any oversight. While this legislation does establish regulation and guidelines it does nothing to ensure that women receive medically accurate information. It also does not ensure women have access to the full range of reproductive health care services. 

STATUS: This legislation passed in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate. The bill is waiting to be signed into law by Governor Scott. 

Pro-Reproductive Health Legislation

In addition to the attacks on reproductive health introduced during this legislative session, there were two bills that would have focused on promoting healthier lifestyles by providing access to preventive care and education. Below are bills that the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates spearheaded with champion bill sponsors:

SB 1718/HB 1273 “Prescription Contraceptive Coverage” by Sen. Book, Rep. Raschein

Co-sponsors: Reps. Abruzzo, Davis, Plasencia, Smith

This legislation would have required health insurance policies to provide coverage for a full range of contraceptive drugs, devices, products and procedures without a copay or payment by the patient. There are exemptions for religious employers. There cannot be restrictions or delays on this required coverage.  

STATUS: Did not see legislative action. 

 

SB 380/HB 189 "Clinic Protection Act” by Sen. Stewart, Rep. Mercado 

Co-sponsors: Sen. Torres; Reps. Abruzzo, Diamond, Geller, Jenne, Richardson, Russell, Smith 

This legislation would have provided enhanced tools for law enforcement to use when protecting providers who are offering reproductive health care services and patients who are seeking reproductive health care services from being intentionally injured, intimidated, or interfered with. In the last few years there have been significant  increases in reports of threats and incidents of violence against reproductive health care providers and facilities. This legislation would have provided state and local authorities with more opportunities for enforcement of existing law.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action. 

Other Legislation of Interest

There were several other bills that would have helped many Floridians. Below are bills that the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates supported:

SB 1352 “Long-acting Reversible Contraception Pilot Program” by Sen. Taddeo

This legislation would have required the Department of Health to establish a long-acting reversible contraception pilot program in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties. The DOH would be required to contract with family planning providers to implement the pilot program.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.

 

SB 66/HB 347 “Prohibited Discrimination” by Sen. Rouson; Reps. Diamond and Plasencia

Co-sponsors: Sens. Thurston, Stewart, Bracy, Book, Rogriguez, Young, Taddeo, Farmer, Braynon, Torres, Garcia, Powell, Montford, Rader, Gibson, Flores; Reps. Abruzzo, Alexander, Antone, Asencio, Ausley, Berman, Brown, Clemons, Cortes (J), Cruz, Davis, DuBose, Duran, Edwards-Walpole, Fitzenhagen, Good, Goodson, Gruters, Hager, Hardemon, Henry, Jacobs, Jacquet, Jenne, Jones, Killebrew, Latvala, Mariano, Massullo, Mercado, Miller (M), Moskowitz, Newton, Peters, Raschein, Richardson, Russell, Santiago, Shaw, Silvers, Slosberg, Smith, Stark, Toledo, Watson (C), Willhite, Williams

The “Florida Competitive Workforce Act” would have designated sexual orientation and gender identity as impermissible grounds to discriminate in public lodging establishments and public food service establishments. It would revise the purposes of the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992.

STATUS: This did not see legislative action. 

 

SB 594/HB 393 "Discrimination in Labor and Employment” by Sen. Stewart; Reps. Berman and Cruz

Co-sponsors: Sen. Torres; Reps. Abruzzo, Davis, Duran, Geller, Jacquet, Jenne, Mercado, Richardson, Russell, Smith, Watson (C)

This legislation would have created the “Senator Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act”. It would have prohibited an employer from providing fewer opportunities for an employee based on gender, prohibited employers from taking discriminatory employment actions against employees, and also prohibited an employer from certain activities regarding wages and benefits or from signing particular documents.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.

 

SCR 264/HCR 1161 "Equal Rights for Men and Women” by Sen. Gibson; Rep. Williams

Co-sponsors: Sens. Stewart, Book, Rodriguez, Taddeo; Reps. Berman, Jenne

This legislation was proposed to ratify the proposed United States constitutional amendment that would create equal rights for men and women.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.