WEST PALM BEACH – Below, please find a statement from Laura Goodhue, Executive Director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates on the anticipated introduction of a 20-week abortion ban to be sponsored by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Doral) and Rep. Tommy Gregory (R-Sarasota):
“This bill poses a serious threat to women’s health, ignoring women’s individual needs and circumstances. This kind of legislation seeks to deny a woman the dignity to make personal, private decisions.
“Sen. Rodriguez is sponsoring this and another bill (SB 410) that would make it harder for teens to stay healthy by blocking sexual health education. Meanwhile 4,452 people have died of COVID in her county. Addressing this unprecedented public health crisis must be the legislature’s top priority – not making it harder for young people to get quality sexual health education and not putting politics between doctors and patients.
“However, we feel about abortion at different points in a pregnancy, a woman’s health should drive important medical decisions – not political agendas. Politicians are not medical experts and this is not an area where they should be interfering. Throughout her pregnancy, a woman must be able to make her own decisions with the advice of the health care professional she trusts.
“We’ve seen what happens when politicians stand in the way of women’s health and interfere in these deeply personal medical decisions. In states that have passed laws like this, some women and their families have been put into unimaginable situations – needing to end a pregnancy for serious medical reasons, but unable to do so.
“At the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, we believe that all people – no matter where they live or how much money they have – should have access to affordable health care. We will continue to work every day to ensure Planned Parenthood patients get the highest quality care, without judgment and without stigma – no matter what.”
What do the experts say?
The American Medical Association “strongly condemn(s) any interference by the government or other third parties that causes a physician to compromise his or her medical judgment as to what information or treatment is in the best interest of the patient.”
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes the 20-week abortion ban, calling it part of legislative proposals “that are not based on sound science (and that) attempt to prescribe how physicians should care for their patients.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held for over 40 years that states may not ban abortion prior to viability. The Court has also made clear that states are prohibited from drawing a line at a particular gestational age to establish fetal viability. And, the Court has insisted that the determination of viability must be left to the physician’s judgment.