On Friday, President Barack Obama ruled that religious hospitals and businesses could not restrict employee insurance coverage for birth control and Sunday marked the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. But in Florida, abortion is conversely being restricted in new laws that, ultimately, will not stop the procedure from
Several bills in the Florida Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee related to abortion and contraception were voted favorable on Tuesday. The “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity for Life Act” (HB 1327), for instance, requires that any person performing termination verify that termination is not occurring because of a sex-selective or race-selective abortion.
This particular bill, while right in its intent, is addressing a minimal problem within the abortion controversy. Though the issue is certainly something to be aware of, it also raises the issue of restricting a woman’s right to view a sonogram until 30 weeks into a pregnancy, according to MSNBC.
An upcoming issue for the subcommittee is the “Florida for Life Act,” (HB 1151) which prohibits operation of facility for purpose of providing abortion services. Planned Parenthood would fall under this category, even though abortion services only make 3 percent of their services as opposed to 16 percent for cancer screening and prevention and 35 percent for STD testing.
Questionably, the bill also prohibits abortion unless “certain conditions” are met, yet does not elaborate on what these conditions would entail.
Florida seems to be lacking when it comes to providing preventative health care information, especially when related to abortion. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida’s 42.8 births per 1,000 teens is high compared to the national average of 41.5 in 2008.
The way to lower abortion numbers is not to restrict it further, but to encourage information and access to birth
control. In fact, countries have higher abortion rates where abortion is illegal compared to countries that keep it legal, according to USA Today.
In addition, Florida schools’ sex-education programs are still based on abstinence education like the Florida Abstinence Education Program, despite the push for comprehensive education programs that include both contraceptive and abstinence messages.
Florida needs to pay attention to the issues at hand. While sex-selective abortions are a legitimate concern outside of the U.S., lawmakers must focus on teen pregnancy rates and contraceptive access to prevent abortions rather than restrict them.