A new bill in Florida that seeks to effectively defund Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights clinics claims there are enough alternatives for reproductive and sexual healthcare in the state, citing a list that includes optometrists, dentists, and elementary schools. The bill, which prohibits state agencies from working with clinics offering abortions to women (except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger), passed the Florida state legislature and now only needs to be signed by Governor Rick Scott.
“I don’t understand how they put this list together,” said Kheyanna Suarez, a Florida student who has visited Planned Parenthood since she was 16, told The Guardian. “Were they blind and mashed everything from Google on to one list? A dental office, a Salvation Army, an elementary school – I can’t go and get care at those places. If I have to leave my healthcare up to the places on that list, I am scared. I don’t think an elementary school can prescribe me birth control.”
The bill puts several other restrictions on abortion, which — if not halted by the courts — could effectively mean the shutting down of several abortion clinics in Florida. “What this would do is take away funding for programs that are primary care,” Chris Estes, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of south, east, and north Florida said. He added that these kind of defunding bills mostly affect women who count on them for free and reduced cost services. “Cancer screenings, sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment, pap smears, birth control – these are services that women in great need are accessing [at Planned Parenthood health centers]. These are not-for-profit programs for patients who don’t have insurance, don’t have money, and can’t afford to go elsewhere for it.”
Read the full story at The Guardian.