© 2023 WFSU Public Media
WFSU News · Tallahassee · Panama City · Thomasville
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Controversial Bill Regulating Fla. Pregnancy Support Services Heads To House Floor


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.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.