Washington, DC –– What a way to welcome the presidential candidates. On the eve of the Democratic debate, the Florida legislature today voted to strip thousands of women across the state of their basic reproductive health care, such as cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and well-woman exams. The bill also implements onerous, Texas-style restrictions on providing abortion, threatening to eliminate access to safe, legal abortion across Florida.
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“As candidates take the stage, thousands of women will be on the brink of losing access to basic health care. In all of the town halls and debates, only one so far has asked Democratic candidates a question about abortion or reproductive rights. Yet all across America, millions of women are facing insurmountable barriers to essential, lifesaving care: cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, well-woman exams, and even abortion. It’s time to have a real conversation about how to protect women’s health and rights in this country.”
We have seen what kind of real-world impact these abortion restrictions have on women. A recent study in Texas estimated that at least 100,000 women have tried to self-induce an abortion without medical supervision.
We know what happens when people are blocked from health care at Planned Parenthood –– in Indiana it led to an HIV epidemic, in Texas it led to tens of thousands of women not getting care, and in Tennessee it led to a 1,400% drop in services.
In Florida, over 67,000 people rely on Planned Parenthood for care. Florida is already tied for last when it comes to women’s health care. In Palm Beach County, Planned Parenthood affiliates served close to half of women in need of affordable contraception at publicly funded family planning health centers. And in Collier County, Planned Parenthood served 45 percent.
This is a dangerous pattern –– and one that every single GOP candidate supports. Every one of them wants to outright make it illegal to have an abortion. They want to block patients from accessing basic health care at Planned Parenthood health centers. And they even want to roll back insurance coverage for birth control.
Jezebel: Florida Legislature Passes Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill, Sending It to Rick Scott's Desk
Salon: Florida's war on women
Orlando Weekly: Florida Legislature passes restrictions on abortion clinics
Tampa Bay Times: Senate passes abortion restrictions
Tallahassee Democrat: Florida Senate tightens restrictions on abortion clinics