Progress Florida and other reproductive rights advocates presented petitions signed by more than 5,500 Floridians to Gov. Rick Scott and Dr. Celeste Philip, Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health (DOH). Women’s health advocates adamantly oppose the $4,000,000 annual appropriation that was passed by anti-abortion legislators and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott this past legislative session. Advocates are calling on DOH to take an assertive stance in regulating fake clinics.
“We have identified more than 190 anti-abortion, fake women’s health centers operating in Florida,” said Amy Weintraub, Reproductive Rights Program Director for Progress Florida. “Thanks to extremist politicians, many of these fake clinics receive millions of our tax dollars, as well as undeserved legitimacy thanks to being placed under a State agency’s umbrella.”
These fake clinics like to be called “crisis pregnancy centers” and often disguise themselves as legitimate women’s health care facilities. Fake clinics use deceptive, manipulative practices to shame women out of getting birth control and abortion care, diverting women from accessing comprehensive and timely care from appropriately trained and licensed medical providers.
The petition calls on DOH to aggressively regulate fake clinics’ utilization of the tax dollars, including that they:
- provide services in a non-coercive manner
- do not include any religious content in service delivery
- provide current and accurate information
- provide references for any medical statements
- obtain background screenings for all paid staff and volunteers
Women facing unintended pregnancies go to these centers, tricked into thinking they are going to get real medical care and unbiased counseling. Instead, they get false or misleading information about what services are offered, they are denied needed referrals for reproductive health care, and they are shamed for considering abortion.