A bill that would both redirect Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding to health care centers that do not perform abortions, and require abortion clinics to have the same safety standards as other outpatient surgical facilities has been approved in Florida and now heads to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott (R).
The Florida state Senate passed House Bill 1411 Wednesday, by a vote of 24-15. The state House approved the measure last week. Scott has not said whether he will sign the measure, reports the Associated Press.
The legislation mirrors bills that have been passed in other states – such as Texas and Mississippi — but have been challenged in court by Planned Parenthood. It requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and abortion centers to have a patient transfer agreement so that a woman who suffers complications during an abortion can be readily transferred via ambulance to a local hospital. The bill also calls for a greater number of clinic inspection requirements and licensure fees.
In 2013, the Kermit Gosnell case served as the impetus for Texas’ abortion safety law. Gosnell – who was convicted of murder for severing the spinal cords of babies born alive during abortions – also was found guilty in the death of one of his patients due to an anesthesia overdose. Despite complaints about the abuses occurring in Gosnell’s abortion clinic, both the abortion industry and the state of Pennsylvania failed to intervene in his “house of horrors” for nearly two decades.
State Sen. Kelli Stargel (R) – a sponsor of the bill – said the measure hopes to raise the standard of care in abortion clinics.
“It is not a bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose … It’s getting the same level of care that she would have if she walked into any other clinic,” she said.
State Sen. Aaron Bean (R) also said taxpayer funds contribute to clinic operations even without directly paying for abortions.
“We pay their light bill, we pay their salaries, we pay all kinds of things when the state contracts with these clinics,” he said. “Let’s get Florida out of the abortion business.”
Stargel emphasized that individuals who received contraception and STD testing at Planned Parenthood would be able to receive services at other facilities.
Opponents of the measure said it would result in more self-induced abortions.
“It is not about protecting life,” state Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D) said. “What it is, is the latest attack on a woman’s right, a woman’s freedom to control her own destiny and make up her mind about her own body without government officials telling her what to do.”
The ACLU – which also opposes the bill – is already suing Florida over a bill signed into law last year that requires a 24-hour waiting period prior to abortions.