With only one committee hearing, a bill seeking to regulate Florida’s pregnancy crisis centers is now heading to the House floor. But, pro-choice advocates are not happy about a provision that directs the state to only contract with providers that “promote and support childbirth.”
Jennifer Rodriguez is a graduate student at Florida State University. But, when she was an FSU sophomore, Rodriguez says she had a bad experience at a clinic as she awaited her pregnancy test results.
“’You believe abortion is a sin, right?’ This woman met me five minutes ago,” she said. “Who was she to ask me this? Was she even a nurse or a social worker? When she felt she had accomplished her goal, she revealed to me the test had come back negative. I left that room so quickly and locked that whole experience out of my mind, until I realized these centers can be found all throughout our state.”
The measure does contain a provision that Pregnancy Support Services must be provided in a “non-coercive manner and not include any religious content.” But, the bill could still preclude groups that provide information on birth control and abortion services, like Planned Parenthood, from receiving any state funds. Still, proponents say this is a great bill.
“Being pregnant is a difficult time in life, and it’s emotional and it’s exhausting,” said Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa). “And, this bill gives women the support that they need. This is a measure that gives women more access to care, not less. This is a choice bill.”
Toledo’s bill only had one hearing in the House, and is now headed to the floor. Meanwhile, its Senate companion has passed one of three committees.
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