TALLAHASSEE – Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) and Rep. Lori Berman (D-Lantana) have filed Senate Bill 1114 and House Bill 6025, striking unconstitutional language from House Bill 1411 (HB 1411), the omnibus anti-reproductive health care bill passed during the 2016 session. Last June, Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida and Planned Parenthood of Southwest Central Florida successfully challenged three parts of HB 1411.
“Thank goodness we have a court system that acts as a check on the Legislature,” Sen. Clemens said. “It’s unfortunate that the majority in the Legislature continues to pass unconstitutional bills.”
“I am proud to file a bill to repeal the language in HB 1411 that the Federal District Court has deemed unconstitutional,” said Rep. Berman. “It is deeply disturbing that we use valuable legislative time in such a counterproductive manner and that we as taxpayers end up footing the cost for defending these ill-conceived ideological bills."
During the 2016 legislative session, when this bill passed, it was never heard by the Judiciary Committees in either chamber. When concerns about the constitutionally of the legislation were raised, they were dismissed by supporters of the bill. In August 2016, a Federal District Court permanently blocked the Florida law from being enacted.
“This bill would repeal unconstitutional language 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 tests, and other essential health care services,” said Barbara Zdravecky, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “It would also repeal unconstitutional language jeopardizing 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.”
Defunding an essential community provider and mandating onerous inspection requirements does nothing to improve the health and safety of care. This unconstitutional law is a part of a nationwide trend to target abortion providers and restrict access to reproductive health care services. Since 2011, 334 abortion restrictions have been enacted across the county.
“This legislation continues to highlight the constant attacks targeting abortion providers and the legislature’s disregard of protecting a patient’s constitutional rights,” added Lillian Tamayo, CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida.
Just last week the Florida Supreme Court blocked a Florida law that would have required women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion. This is yet another example of the courts reminding lawmakers they don’t have the right to block access to safe and legal abortion. This ruling is a major victory but it appears to have fallen on deaf ears in the halls of the Capitol, as legislators continue to file bills this year that continue to attack access to abortion.