Editorial Board: "Florida faces many tough problems. Abortion rights is not one of them."
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An editorial in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel criticized efforts by Florida lawmakers to restrict women's access to safe and legal abortion. On January 19, a piece of legislation mirroring Texas' controversial anti-abortion bill HB 2 was passed out of a Florida House committee panel. A January 20 editorial by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel rebuked the Florida Legislature for "squandering time" with political "grandstanding" about women's safety while pushing for new regulations on clinics that have "nothing to do with safety or quality, either."
The editorial board's criticism comes as evidence mounts that HB 2 has had a deleterious effect on the health and safety of women in Texas. The editors noted that Planned Parenthood says that if Florida passes similar legislation, the organization "might have to close some of its 16 clinics in Florida," depriving women not only of the ability to obtain safe and legal abortions, but also of access to a wide variety of health care services. The editorial board argued that the legislation shows that 43 years "after the landmark Roe v. Wade case made abortion legal nationwide, ending abortion remains a goal of the Florida Legislature." From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (emphasis added):
In what has become an annual ritual, the Legislature is again trying to place barriers in front of women who seek an abortion.
This time, they're going after the state's 65 abortion clinics, trying to make it harder for them to stay in business by making them comply with the tougher regulations placed on outpatient surgery centers and hospitals.
HB 233, sponsored by Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, would force abortion clinics to make costly renovations. Some of the regulations have nothing to do with safety or quality, either. Rather, they have to do with the width of hallways, the size of closets and even the color of wall paint.
If the bill passes, Planned Parenthood said it might have to close some of its 16 clinics in Florida. In Texas, it says about 20 clinics closed after a similar law there passed three years ago.
Forty three years after the landmark Roe v. Wade case made abortion legal nationwide, ending abortion remains a goal of the Florida Legislature.
Last year, for example, the Legislature passed a law requiring women to wait 24 hours after visiting an abortion provider before having the procedure. A lawsuit has placed that law on hold. There's legitimate concerns that forcing women to visit a clinic twice, and force those who don't live nearby to find a place to stay overnight, creates an undue burden.
The year before, lawmakers passed a law prohibiting abortions after a fetus might be considered viable, possibly at 23 weeks, unless the mother's life is at risk.
The list goes on.
We send folks to Tallahassee to represent us, to do the critical business of the state and to spend tax money wisely. Yet every year, we watch them try to score political points with their base by chipping away at a woman's right to choose.
Florida faces many tough problems. Abortion rights is not one of them.