Reproductive rights advocates to boycott House committee hearing

Feb 14 • 134 Views • View Comments

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Fed up with being shamed and disrespected by legislators, advocates
will speak out at press event instead of attending committee

After being repeatedly disrespected, shamed and downright harassed by elected officials, advocates are boycotting the third committee stop for House Bill 1429 and instead speaking out about the dangers of this legislation at a press conference scheduled to take place during tomorrow’s House Health and Human Services Committee where the bill will be heard.

Press conference about the dangers of HB 1429

February 15, 11:00AM
Outside of House Office Building
Capitol Complex
Tallahassee, FL

Speakers:
Missy Wesolowski, Florida Planned Parenthood
Barbara DeVane, Florida NOW
Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando)

“The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a difficult and personal one for every woman,” said Missy Wesolowski, Legislative Director for Planned Parenthood. “Whether it is a woman telling her personal story or a doctor sharing their professional opinion, every citizen who testifies before a legislative committee deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

At House Bill 1429’s first committee stop, one committee member ended up having to apologize repeatedly after the way he treated a woman who was courageous enough to testify about her own second trimester abortion due to a severe fetal anomaly.

At the bill’s next stop in the House Judiciary Committee last week, another member referred to abortion as an “execution”. While still another said he wouldn’t even refer to OB-GYNs who performed abortions as doctors but only as “abortionists.” Later in the proceeding, another committee member decided even that was too good and that “monster” or “baby killer” would be more appropriate.

“After all of that, at the end of the hearing, this same committee member had the audacity to chastise opponents of the bill who waved in opposition for not testifying,” said Barbara DeVane, lobbyist for Florida NOW. “This shaming of women is a perfect example of why these politicians should leave decisions about the best and most appropriate medical care to women and their doctors.”

Sadly, these recent examples are far from exceptions but rather are par for the course for hearings on bills related to regulating abortion.

Similar bans were passed in 2015 in Kansas and Oklahoma, in 2016 in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, and in Texas and Arkansas in 2017. All have been challenged in court, except for the bans in Mississippi and West Virginia, where the bans are not expected to have an impact on abortion services.

“Method Ban legislation like HB 1429 has no medical basis, puts women’s health at serious risk and represents yet another ideological attack on a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion,” said Wesolowski.

 

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