Amendment 6 threat to accessible abortion
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 15:10
Florida currently holds a somewhat unique position regarding a cohesive public stance on abortion. Although it is legal, a large conservative population aims to begin dismantling this policy, starting in November.
Amendment 6 will be decided by voters in the election, requiring a 60 percent majority to pass.
The proposed amendment would prohibit state tax dollars from funding abortions. It would also overturn previous court decisions that allow minors to obtain an abortion procedure without parental consent. For minors, parental notification is required, but the parent does not have to consent to the procedure.
The argument lies in the fact that public tax dollars go to funding programs such as Planned Parenthood, a women’s health provider and provider of end-of-pregnancy services. Judith Selzer, Planned Parenthood’s vice president on public policy, maintains that if the vote passes, the welfare of public and state employees will be in jeopardy.
“They’re saying this is about taxpayer funding,” Selzer said. “This is about politicians trying to interfere with women’s health care decisions.”
Every piece of GOP legislation on women’s reproductive rights presented in recent months aims to do just that. Gov. Rick Scott has thrown out the presented opportunity for Florida’s women to receive assistance from the Affordable Care Act, denying federal funding to our citizens. Without federal health care money that will assist women in private doctor’s visits and other health needs, many uninsured women are left with no options. Programs like Planned Parenthood are vital to women’s health.
Planned Parenthood, as an organization, is committed to providing the option to terminate a pregnancy if a woman so chooses. It is tied to providing this essential service despite the conservative uproar. Legislation cannot demand to cut public funding for abortion without harming Planned Parenthood as a whole. Although abortion is legal in Florida, without the essential service Planned Parenthood provides, women are forced to seek assistance elsewhere. Women who utilize these services often have no other choice and are also not financially capable of traveling and/or leaving the state if necessary to seek an abortion. This sets forth a troubling scenario for women in Florida in need of the procedure. As one recalls a country prior to the passing of Roe v. Wade, it is remembered that a woman desperate to end a pregnancy will find a way to do so, regardless of the potential to harm herself and her future reproductive health. Do we really want to pass legislation that will force women into these situations? Without Florida’s participation in the U.S. health care initiative, women without insurance who rely on Planned Parenthood will have no other option.