Governor Rick Scott has signed into law a controversial measure regulating pregnancy support centers. But pro-choice advocates worry it limits access to all available options.
The Florida Department of Health relies on contracts with outside organizations for a number of healthcare services, including pregnancy support.
The law signed Monday by Governor Rick Scott requires the health department to only contract with organizations that “promote and support childbirth” – a move that could sideline Planned Parenthood clinics.
Many critics argue this law will prevent women from understand their full range of options.
The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates’ Missy Wesolowski worries it will create confusion.
"This legislation is about the legislature and the government funding and giving credence to these health centers that don’t provide full range of reproductive healthcare, and have often been found to lie and deceive women into keeping their pregnancies,” says Wesolowski.
She argues the law gives money to illegitimate health clinics and provides biased information driven by politics.
Women often turn to these facilities in times of crisis, and critics say some centers have a history of pushing religious or political agendas. But the law stipulates pregnancy support services must be provided in a non-coercive way that doesn’t include any religious content.
Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) says this program is vital to giving women the information and resources they need.
“This is not about picking winners and losers," argues Toledo. "This bill is about more choices, not less. This bill is about more access, not less.”
The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments over California’s attempt to regulate anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. California’s law states pregnancy centers must provide information about contraception and abortion, and the Associated Press reports the outcome of this case could affect the future of Florida’s law.