Lately conversations have arisen in the Florida Senate and House that could alter reproductive health care in the state.
Last Tuesday, Sen. Stephen R. Wise (R-Jacksonville) introduced Senate Bill 1414 which states that if an individual or group health insurance policy is purchased in whole or in part with any state or federal funds, the insurance company is prohibited from covering abortion.
Many students and state representatives have their own opinion about the new bill that has been passed.
Clara Pye, aid for Rep. Alan Williams, said if the bill does come to him and its stopping women rights, he is against it.
“He doesn’t serve on any health care committees but if it does move, he is most likely against it,” said Pye.
Last year Williams encouraged then-governor Charlie Crist to veto a similar bill, Pye said.
“Last year there was a bill about ultrasounds given before abortions which he rallied to Gov. Crist and he vetoed it,” Pye said.
SB 1538, another bill up for vote this session would ban public dollars from covering abortion.
Sen. Anitere Flowers (R-Miami) proposed state constitutional amendment (SJR 1538) that bans public funding for abortions unless the pregnancy endangered the woman’s life. Wise’s bill makes exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Flowers’ amendment does not.
“Before I vote for this on the floor, that’s going to have to be in there,” Sen. Jack Latvala (R-St. Petersburg) told his colleagues last week. The Senate Health and regulation committee passed the bill with a 7-5 vote. SB 1414 was approved with an 8-4 vote.
On Jan. 20, a proposed law having to do with reproductive healthcare has also appeared on the federal level. HR 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act was reported by a committee on March 3 and is now awaiting a vote from the House.
Kenya Wilson, 22, senior education student from Fort Myers, said she feels as if this law will mean fewer abortions. “I feel these different laws are saving lives,” Wilson said. “My tax dollars shouldn’t be going to abortion instead of education where it’s needed.”
Unlike Wilson, other students feel the laws that are being created are taking away the woman’s voice. “It’s your body do as you please,” said Chelsee Moore 21, a marketing student from Tallahassee.
Moore explained that women are loosing their voice in this situation.”These young women are losing their freedom of speech,” Moore said. ” How you can you tell a rape victim that has been impregnated that she has to live with trauma?”
One entity that will be affected by proposed legislation is Planned Parenthood. In February, the Republican-run House voted to cut $300 million from the non-profit, which provides family planning and reproductive health services.
On the website, the organization speaks openly about ways to receive help for an abortion. On the website there is a quote that states, “If I am pregnant I have three options: abortion, adoption and parenting.”