Overview

The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood health centers in Florida and represents the interests of 22 health centers statewide, 15 of which provide abortion care. Floridians know they can count on Planned Parenthood for nonjudgmental, compassionate and affordable quality care. With nearly 78% of Planned Parenthood health centers in medically underserved areas, Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider for communities in need.

Every year since Rick Scott was elected governor of Florida in 2010 he has signed into law another attack on reproductive rights. We’ve fought off most of these attacks – there have been many – but every year one got through. Until this year. This year our resistance was too strong. This is the first time in seven years there won’t be a single rollback of our reproductive rights signed into Florida law!

In 2017, we sent a bold message to Florida Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature – that women’s rights are human rights. We started 2017 marching – tens of thousands strong – in cities across Florida and we haven’t let up. We called and emailed and signed petitions to lawmakers. We went to meet with our elected officials. We testified in committee hearings. We’re giving voice to the concerns of women and families across Florida. And we’re making a difference.

There were, however, attempts to pass bills that would promote anti-abortion rhetoric, restrict access to abortion or codify into law organizations that do not offer women the full range of reproductive health care services. The legislature even attempted to pass a bill that would require the Health Department to develop, promote and pay for anti-abortion propaganda that would “clearly and consistently communicate that the elective termination of an unborn child kills a living human being”. This legislation was a blatant attempt to stigmatize women who make the personal decision to have an abortion. 

Ultimately, the legislature focused on a bill designed to intimidate and shutter safe and law-abiding abortion care providers. The Abortion Provider Liability bill (SB 1140/HB 19) would have created a new section of law outside of well-established medical malpractice statutes that allows a woman who consented to an abortion and signed a state-mandated informed consent form to sue her physician for damages for any physical injuries or any “emotional distress” she claims to have suffered as a result of negligence or failure to obtain the informed consent required by Florida law. The legislation was designed to make the legal landscape too risky for doctors to do their job by increasing their potential exposure to frivolous lawsuits and the expense of defending them. Each increase in risk for the provider also meant an increase in the cost of doing business, including the cost of carrying malpractice insurance. This legislation drew strong opposition from leading health care organizations and concerned Floridians and died in the committee process. The legislation did pass in two House committees, an indication of the hostile environment in the legislature toward reproductive rights. 

This year, with the support of coalition partners and through grassroots efforts, the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates successfully defended against every bill that attempted to restrict women’s access to health care. 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 2017 Legislative Session.

 

Anti-Reproductive Health Legislation


SB 1140/HB 19 “Abortion Provider Liability Bill” by Sen. Stargel, Rep. Grall 

Co-Sponsors: Reps. Ahern, Albritton, Gruters, Hahnfeldt, White and Yarborough.

SB 1140/HB 19 would have significantly increased the risk physicians would face in providing safe and legal abortion care. It would have created a separate legal claim related only to abortions, despite the fact that any patient injured during an abortion can already sue under Florida law for medical malpractice. It would have increased the amount of time a patient has to sue to at least double what current law allows for all other medical negligence claims. 

STATUS: Was heard in two House committees but didn’t make it to a floor vote. Did not see any action in the Senate.


SB 384/HB 203 “20-week Abortion Ban” by Sen. Steube, Rep. Gruters

Prime-Co-Sponsor: Hahnfeldt, Co-Sponsors: Reps. Albritton, Fischer, Massulo, Jr., Ponder, Renner, and Yarborough.

SB 384/HB 203 were unconstitutional attempts by opponents of safe and legal abortion to impose restrictions on access to abortion. Abortion is a deeply personal, often complicated decision for a woman to make. Once again, politicians were attempting to insert themselves in the most private and personal medical decisions best left between a woman, in consultation wither doctor, her family and her faith. The ban would have required women to travel out-of-state if they discovered a serious defect during second-trimester ultrasound. 

STATUS: Did not see legislative action. 


SB 1130/HB 969 “Relating to Pregnancy Support and Wellness Services” by Sen. Bean, Rep. Toledo

Co-Sponsors: Sens. Mayfield and Stargel. Reps. Byrd, Fine, Fischer, Grall, Grant (J), Grant (M), Magar, Rodrigues (R), and Yarborough.

SB 1130/HB 969 attemptsed to establish “Pregnancy Support Services” (also referred to as Crisis Pregnancy Centers or CPCs) as legitimate wellness centers and appropriate state funding to support and promote child birth. For Years, CPCs have been receiving state funding with no oversight. All health care providers should be regulated and while this legislation establishes regulation and guidelines for CPCs such as financial reports and background checks of staff, we opposed this legislation in order to ensure that women receive medically accurate information and can access the full range of reproductive health care services.

STATUS: The legislation passed in the Florida House of Representatives. Was heard in one Senate committee but did not make it to a floor vote. 


SB 1006/HB 841 “Anti-Abortion Propaganda Bill” by Sen. Baxley, Rep. Gonzalez   

Co-Sponsor: Rep. Albritton.

SB 1006/HB 841 promoted anti-abortion rhetoric by attempting to require that the state develop, promote and fund materials that communicate biased information with the intent to shame and judge women who seek abortions. This bill would have required the Department of Education to develop instructional materials for students that included information on prenatal care and adoption. 

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.


 

 

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 1114/HB 6025 “Repealer Bill of 2016 Defunding Language” by Sen. Clemens, Rep. Berman 

Co-sponsors: Sens. Braynon, Torres, Jr., and Rouson. Reps. DuBose, Duran, Geller, Jacobs, Mercado, Moskowitz, and Smith.

This legislation would have repealed unconstitutional language from 2016 TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) legislation that attempted to defund family planning providers who provide safe and legal abortion care from offering preventive care such as birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment and other essential health care services. It would also have repealed unconstitutional language that would have jeopardized the privacy of women who have an abortion by requiring that at least 50 percent of those patient records be reviewed by state officials; a mandate not required in any other medical procedure. 

STATUS: Did not see legislative action. 


SB 1740/HB 1339 “FACE Act” by Sen. Stewart, Rep. Mercado  

Co-sponsors: Sens. Torres. Reps. Asencio, Baez, Berman, Geller, Jacobs, Shaw, Slosberg, and 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 major 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 1712/HB 1207 “Relating to Assault or Battery on Health Care Providers” by Sen. Rouson, Rep. Baez 

Co-sponsors: Sen. Perry. Reps. Hardemon, Massullo Jr., and Payne.   

This legislation defined “health care provider” and provided for enhanced protections on certain assault and battery offenses committed against health care providers.  

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.


SB 1026/HB 831 “Relating to High School Graduation Requirements” by Sen. Farmer, Rep. Alexander 

This legislation would have reinstated the requirement for students to earn one-half credit in health education for high school graduation. 

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.


SB 176/HB 7109 “Relating to Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Feminine Hygiene Products” by Sen. Passidomo, Rep. Edwards

Co-sponsors: Sens. Benacquisto, Campbell, Garcia, Hukill, Hutson, Rodriguez (J), and Steward. Reps. Altman, Antone, Berman, Clemons (C), Combee, Cortes (J), Daniels, Duran, Fitzenhagen, Geller, Gruters, Harrell, Jacobs, Leek, Mariano, McGhee, Mercado, Moskowitz, Peters, Plasencia, Porter, Raschein, Raulerson, Silvers, Slosberg, Smith, and White.   

This legislation creates a tax exemption for feminine hygiene products. 

STATUS: The legislation did not make it to a floor vote but the language was added to HB 7109 which passed and is now awaiting the signature of the Governor.  


SB 666/HB 623 “Competitive Workforce Act” by Sen. Clemens, Rep. Diamond

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

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

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.


SB 742/HB 659 “Housing Discrimination” by Sen. Latvala, Rep. Raschein

Co-sponsors: Sens. Rouson and Young.  

This legislation sought to ban housing discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

STATUS: Did not see legislative action.


SB 410/HB 319 “Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act” by Sen. Stewart, Rep. Berman and Cruz 

Co-Sponsors: Sen. Gibson. Reps. Abruzzo, Ausley, Baez, Brown, Cortes (J), Daniels, Davis, Geller, Hardemon, Henry, Jacobs, Jenne, Mercado, Russell, Slosberg, Smith, Stark, Watson (B), Watson (C), and 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 194/HB 109 “Equal Rights for Men and Women” by Sen. Gibson, Rep. Baez

Co-Sponsors: Sen. Stewart. Reps. Berman, Cruz, Diamond Duran, Geller, Jenne, Mercado, Slosberg, and Smith. 

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.


 

Tags: Florida Legislation

 

Photos from the Capitol