Read the entire report including House and Senate voting scorecards in the PDF version.

Overview

Communities rely on Planned Parenthood for accurate, accessible, nonjudgmental information and affordable quality care and for almost 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been America’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care. In 2013, nearly 80,000 women, men and teens turned to Planned Parenthood in Florida for health care services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, contraception services and abortion care. Our primary goal remains to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies through preventive services and education. While teen pregnancy rates have declined significantly since 1990, the number of repeat teen births remains high.

Instead of focusing on access to quality health care, this legislative session, elected officials introduced six bills (three in each chamber) that once again focused on making it harder for women to access reproductive health services. Some bills threatened to make it nearly impossible for Planned Parenthood to provide basic preventive health care services to women and access to safe and legal abortion.

Ultimately, the legislature passed a bill mandating that a woman have two separate in-person consultations with a physician, a minimum of 24 hours apart, before being able to access abortion services. Even when a woman has already received state-mandated counseling and made a deliberate and fully informed decision, she will now be forced to wait 24 hours before having an abortion. Responding to pressure from reproductive rights advocates, the legislation was finally amended by the bill sponsor to include exceptions for victims of rape, incest, domestic violence and human trafficking but only if they provide documentation of the crime. While any exception to the requirements of the original mandatory abortion delay bill is a symbolic step in the right direction, unfortunately, the legislation would now further traumatize rape survivors.

State laws that require mandatory delays before a woman can get an abortion do not offer any health benefits. They result in increased expenses, travel difficulties, and medical risks. Inherent in this bill is the unfounded assumption that women who decide to have an abortion don’t carefully consider their decision. The reasons women decide to have an abortion are complicated and legislation should not be introduced with the intent to shame, coerce or judge women. The decision about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child is private and personal. The decision should remain between a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor or health care provider.

This year, with the support of coalition partners and through grassroots efforts, Planned Parenthood successfully defeated two other bills that attempted to restrict women’s access to health care. This report provides an overview of the bills that Planned Parenthood worked on during the 2015 Legislative Session in conjunction with our allies and supporters.

2015 Anti-Reproductive Health Legislation

SB 724/HB 633 “Termination of Pregnancies”/ “Informed Patient Consent” by Sen. Flores, Rep. Sullivan

Co-Sponsors: Ahern, Albritton, Avila, Baxley, Burgess, Burton, Cortes (B), Costello,Cummings, Drake, Eisnaugle, Gaetz (M), Hill, La Rosa, Mayfield, Metz, Moraitis, Plakon, Raburn,Rodrigues (R), Rooney, Santiago, Stevenson, Stevenson, Stone, Van Zant

SB 724/HB 633 requires a 24-hour mandatory delay after informed consent before obtaining an abortion. The bill requires a physician to be in the same room with a patient to receive consent and for the consent to be at least 24 hours before the procedure.

STATUS: PASSED. The legislation passed the Senate 26-13 and the House 77-42. It will go into effect July 1, 2015.

SB 920/HB 147 “Relating to Abortion” by Sen. Stargel, Rep. Hill

Co-Sponsors: Reps. Ahern, Baxley, Gonzalez, Moraitis, Plakon, Rodrigues, Van Zant, Costello

SB 920/HB 147 would have severely restricted access to safe and legal abortion by requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, which is not a requirement for being a licensed medical provider, is not a designation of the quality of the provider, and medical experts agree would not make patients safer.

STATUS: Died in Committee.

SB 1502/HB 247 “Florida for Life” By Sen. Evers, Rep. Van Zant

Co-Sponsors: Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R)

SB 1502/HB 247 is government interference at its worst and would have banned safe, legal abortion in Florida. This legislation provided no exception for survivors of rape, sexual assault or incest, and only very limited exceptions for the life and health of the woman and narrowly defined medical emergencies. Women don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care, or cancer treatments. And politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy.

STATUS: Died in Committee.

2015 Other Legislation of Concern

SB 1464/HB 583 “Single-Sex Public Facilities” by Sen. Dean, Rep. Artilles
Co-Sponsors: Reps. Baxley, Campbell, Gaetz, Hill, Moraitis, Rodrigues, and Stone
HB 583 would have allowed blatant discrimination against the transgender community. The bill required that use of single-sex facilities be restricted to persons of the sex for which the facility is designated and prohibits knowingly and willfully entering a single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of another biological sex. This legislation targeting transgender individuals sought to dehumanize them by preventing access to facilities in public spaces.
STATUS: Died in Committee.

HB 7111 “Relating to Conscience Protection for Actions of Private Child-Placing Agencies” by Rep. Brodeur
Co-Sponsors: Reps. Porter, Ahern, Albritton, Baxley, Broxson, Drake
HB 7111 would have given child placement agencies subcontracted by the state a license to discriminate and deny vulnerable children loving homes due to religious or moral objections unrelated to child welfare. Doing so would greatly exacerbate the existing shortage of available families, and harm children, limiting their opportunities to be placed with qualified and loving families.
STATUS: Died in Committee

2015 Other Legislation of Interest

In addition to the attacks on women’s health introduced this session, there were several bills that would have protected women, men, and their families. Below are bills that the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates supported:

SB 156/HB 33 “Competitive Workforce Act” by Sen. Abruzzo, Rep. Raschein

Co-sponsors: Sens. Bullard, Margolis, Ring, Smith (C) and Soto. Reps. Berman, Cortes (J), Cruz, Dudley, Edwards, Fitzenhagen, Geller, Goodson, Hager, Jacobs, Jenne, Jones (S), Kerner, La Rosa, Latvala, Miller, Moskowitz, Murphy, Narain, Peters, Pilon, Plasencia, Rader, Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Richardson, Rodriguez (J), Rooney, Rouson, Santiago, Stark, Stewart, and Watson (C).

This legislation sought to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in public employment, public lodging establishments and public food service establishments.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.

SB 982/HB 625 “Pregnancy Discrimination Act” by Sen. Thompson, Rep. Cortes (B)

Co-sponsors: Sens. Gibson and Smith. Reps. Berman (Primary Co-Sponsor), Artilles, Campbell, Edwards, Fullwood, Raschein, Rehwinkel Vasilinda, and Williams.

This legislation sought to bring Florida in line with the Civil Rights Act of 1972 and protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination. The Senate passed it unanimously, and the House passed it with an overwhelming majority.

STATUS: Passed.

SB 98/HB 25 “Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act” by Sen. Joyner, Rep. Cruz

Co-Sponsors: Sens. Sachs and Soto. Reps. Jenne, Pafford, Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Richardson, Watson (C), Williams

This legislation would have established the Governor’s Recognition Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace and recognized the importance of equal pay for equal work for women.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.

SB 88/HB 8001 “Equal Rights for Men and Women” by Sen. Joyner, Rep. Berman

Co-Sponsors: Sen. Margolis. Reps. Jenne, Murphy, Pafford, Rader, Watson (C), and Williams.

This bill would have ratified the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to equal rights for men and women.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.

SB 512/HB 321 “Relating to HIV Testing” by Sen. Thompson, Rep. Avila

Co-sponsors: Sen. Soto. Reps. Edwards (Primary Co-Sponsor), DuBose, Jones (S), Pigman, Pritchett, Rogers and Williams.

This legislation amends current informed consent protocols for HIV testing in Florida. The legislation allows health care professionals to test patients for HIV through proper patient notification and permitts them to verbally decline the test.

STATUS: Passed.

SB 374/HB 607 “Relating to Chemicals of High Concern” by Sen. Sobel, Rep. Cruz

Co-sponsors: Rep. Berman

This bill would have required the Department of Health to create and disseminate a list of potentially hazardous chemicals that are included in products used by pregnant women and children.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.

Tags: Florida Legislation