State Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, today expressed frustration with what she has called the Florida state legislature’s “war against women.” During a House committee’s passage of legislation for a state constitutional amendment banning public funding for abortions, Schwartz accused House Republicans of introducing the bill for political purposes.
The state constitutional amendment would prohibit taxpayer money from being used for abortion in the state. However, opponents of the legislation have argued the bill is unnecessary. A ban on public funding for abortions is even in the process of being removed from health exchanges created by the federal health care reform law.
However, House Republicans and the Florida Senate have introduced legislation that would prohibit the “State Constitution from being interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those contained in U.S. Constitution.”
Schwartz argued during the debate over C.S. 1179 that these lawmakers were not just aiming to restrict access to abortions in the state — they also want to help Republicans on election day 2012.
“There are 18 bills that are moving through this legislature that impact women’s health and medical treatment,” she said. However, there really is “no necessity” for this particular bill, besides the political advantages it provides Republicans.
“This is a political move that will surely bring out the people that are in agreement with the legislature,” she said. “This is a political move to get out the vote in 2012.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, responded to Schwartz.
He told the committee that he was looking to protect “little Floridians.” In an emotional response to Schwartz, he said that he did not appreciate her projecting “political motives” on something he does for moral reasons.
Both the House and Senate versions of the legislation have made it through the committees they have been referred to thus far.