Protecting Women's Healthcare Access in Florida Blocked by Governor

PlannedParenthood logo200x112By Roger Caldwell
Governor Rick Scott has made it official in Florida that he is in charge. On March 25th, he signed a bill that would block thousands of Floridians from healthcare at Planned Parenthood. This is an ironic situation, because around September 2015, there was an investigation conducted by Florida health officials to prove there was wrongdoing at Planned Parenthood.

There was no evidence of illegal activities found at 16 of the state's Planned Parenthood locations. But, during this legislature cycle, a bill was passed and signed by the governor that could block 67,000 patients from getting healthcare. This would eliminate thousands of patients' access to birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests, and other care at Planned Parenthood.

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It doesn't appear to matter to Governor Scott or the Republican Legislature, that thousands of Floridians spent months of protest against the bill, and there were more than 12,000 petitions against it. Also, there was a TV ad campaign explaining the harm this bill would impact to thousands of Floridians.

"For Rick Scott to prioritize political pandering over his own constituents' access to health care is more than cynical, it's shameful. When HIV rates continue to skyrocket, teen pregnancies rise and Floridians who need it most can't access basic care, Rick Scott will have a lot of explaining to do," says Laura Goodhue, Executive Director of Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

In 2016, Florida is tied for last when it comes to women's well-being, and is facing the highest number of new HIV cases in the nation. The bill is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, and for many Latinos in the state, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider they have.

This bill is cruel and inhuman, but other governors around the country are working to rip health care away from those who need it the most. At the present time, there are 12 states that have defunded Planned Parenthood in some capacity, and the governors are proud of their devastating actions. The states are Arkansas, Alabama, Utah, New Hampshire, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and now Florida.

Instead of improving health care around the country, more women are suffering than ever before. Blocking and defunding care at Planned Parenthood has very real and devastating consequences for the communities they serve.

"After Indiana defunded Planned Parenthood, Scott County faced an HIV epidemic. In Texas, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that defunding Planned Parenthood led to a 35% decline in women on Medicaid using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27% spike in births among women who had previously had access to inject able contraception," explains the Washington D.C. Planned Parenthood Affiliate.

Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. There are over 650 health centers around the country, and they care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. They focus on the poor, minorities and the young, who really have no other health center to turn to.

Even with the implementation of the ACA, there are still millions of Americans without health care insurance. Twenty million Americans can thank President Obama for health care insurance, but there is still a critical need for Planned Parenthood. When states like Florida refuse to expand health coverage under the Medicaid program, and leave $51 billion on the federal table, Florida is not improving the quality of health of its residents.

With the defunding of Planned Parenthood, Governor Scott shows he is a cold callous Republican that does not care about the most vulnerable and poorest residents in the state. The governor's bill blocks well women exams, basic reproductive health care, health education, and threatens access to safe, legal abortions across the state.

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Roger Caldwell, President/CEO of On Point Media Group is a stroke survivor and has helped to produce a documentary and also wrote and published a book on the subject.
On Point Media Group via Roger Caldwell researches and writes articles that are relevant to the Black political community. Roger's news articles appears in almost every Black owned publication in Florida as well as his own blog. He is a proud member of Community Steeple Media Network.

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