Last-ditch efforts to provide more protection for women in the six abortion-restriction bills discussed today during House floor action failed yesterday.
About a dozen amendments were introduced by Democratic representatives yesterday. Most of them were aimed at providing more protection for women. Each amendment was voted down — mostly along party lines.
Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, introduced seven amendments. Four of his measures sought to expand the exceptions for bans on public funding for abortion to a woman who faces a “serious risk to her health” — and not just to a woman who will die if she does not end her pregnancy.
This exception has received bipartisan support in the past. State Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ocala, voted in support of a similar amendment introduced by Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, in the Senate during a committee meeting earlier this month. The amendment sought to provide more coverage for women under the health care exchanges created by the federal health care reform bill. Many states have followed suit in restricting the amount of coverage women receive for abortions under these exchanges.
Randolph also sought to add language to the Choose Life, Inc. license plate bill. The amendment would require that “agencies that receive the funds [from the purchase of the license plates] must use at least 70 percent of the funds to provide for the material needs of pregnant women who are making an adoption plan for their children committed to placing their children for adoption, including, but not limited to, clothing, housing, medical care, food, utilities, and transportation.” The bill’s original language does not specify how much of the funds should be used on actual services for women.
A second amendment proposed by Randolph to the Choose Life, Inc. license plates bill, would require that “agencies that receive license plate funds must provide medically accurate information and materials with reference sources for any and all statements of a medical nature.” Crisis pregnancy centers in Florida that receive funds from Choose Life, Inc. have been found to distribute scientifically inaccurate information in the past. There was no provision in the original bill that required these agencies to support medically accurate information.
Rep. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach, proposed an amendment to the mandatory-ultrasound bill that would require the state to “reimburse the woman the cost of the ultrasound … if the physician determines that an ultrasound is not medically necessary and the woman waives the right to view and waives an explanation of the ultrasound.”
Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, sought to allow women who “state that they need an abortion performed” to waive the ultrasound requirement before an abortion procedure.
Not one of these amendments was adopted. Each bill, with its original language, is set for a final vote today.