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.
At least 16 U.S. newspapers have recently published op-eds by state officials of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Koch brothers' political advocacy group, urging state legislatures to oppose the EPA's plan to address climate change by limiting carbon pollution from power plants. These newspapers have consistently failed to disclose the authors' oil industry ties, and the op-eds themselves "misleadingly" cite statistics on electricity prices from an industry-funded study, as a media fact-checker has explained.
Numerous local newspapers failed to identify the fossil fuel funding behind Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, while allowing him to publish op-eds across the country misleadingly attacking a potential tax credit for wind power, while ignoring subsidies for the oil and gas industries.
A Media Matters analysis found that Florida newspapers including, The Orlando Sentinel, The Sun-Sentinel, The Tampa Bay Times, and The Tampa Tribune, largely failed to cover the key details of Medicaid expansion in the lead up to the state's legislative session, including the specific benefits of expansion and the negative impact the failure to expand would have on the state and Floridians.
A lengthy South Florida Sun-Sentinel article on Florida's Election Day fiascos whitewashed Republican Gov. Rick Scott's role in creating horrific voting scenarios that have made the state a national laughingstock and disenfranchised parts of the Florida electorate.
The article, published in the November 8 edition of the Sun-Sentinel, buried Scott's refusal to follow a Florida tradition of extending early-voting hours after reports over the weekend that voters stood in long lines waiting for hours to cast a ballot and noted his refusal only in the context of partisan criticism from former governor and "Obama supporter" Charlie Crist. Worse, the article seemed to imply that Scott joined President Obama in expressing a strong desire to fix the system that he left broken. His comments, however, don't reflect the empathy attributed to him by the reporter. From the article (emphasis added):
Images of long, long lines of people in South Florida waiting to cast ballots during early voting dominated the airwaves. Many voters in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties reported waiting several hours. That continued on Election Day with some voters in Miami not getting done at the polls until about 1:30 a.m.
Even Obama seemed to have noticed, making an apparent jab at Florida in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning.
"I want to thank every American who participated in this election whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time," he said. "By the way, we have to fix that."
And the president is not the only one saying that.
Gov. Rick Scott, when questioned last week about the long voter lines, said that seeing so many people turn out to do their civic duty was "exciting."
On Wednesday, Scott stopped short of criticizing the state election's process, but said he would be reviewing it with Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
"What went right, what can we improve?" Scott said.
A South Florida Sun-Sentinel article quoted Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party, saying, "This is a terrible thing," and adding, "I wish Obama would not pretend to care about the Jewish community." At no point did the article quote the Obama campaign or anyone besides Dinerstein on the issue of Obama's commitment to the Jewish community.