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. [Read more…] about Fake clinics petition signed by 5,500 Floridians presented to Gov. Scott and Florida Surgeon General
Progress Florida will be joined by partners with the Floridians for Reproductive Freedom coalition to deliver petitions from more than 5,000 Floridians calling for more aggressive DOH oversight of Florida’s anti-abortion, fake clinics. [Read more…] about Advocates to deliver fake clinics petitions to Governor, Department of Health
At July 4th Holiday, Trump’s Tax Cut Promises Hit the Skids
Florida’s working families who have been waiting to see the benefits of the Trump-GOP tax cuts will be waiting awhile longer: their promised tax cuts will likely be eaten up by higher gas prices just as they hit the road for the Fourth of July holiday and by higher health insurance and prescription drug costs. [Read more…] about With Gas Prices and Health Care Costs Rising, Many Floridians Will See No Benefit From Trump-GOP Tax Cuts
Website www.FloridaReportCard.com hosts grades for legislators
Progress Florida today unveiled its 2018 “People First” Report Card grading every lawmaker on the votes they cast during the 2018 legislative session across a wide spectrum of issues important to Floridians. Every active legislator was graded based on floor votes taken in their respective chambers – 21 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate. To achieve an A or B grade on the Report Card, lawmakers had to consistently vote to put ‘People First’ instead of powerful special interests.
Floridians for Reproductive Freedom today denounced Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders after Scott signed House Bill 41, which legitimizes and permanently funds with taxpayer dollars fake clinics that use medically inaccurate information to oppose abortion and judge, shame, and mislead women. HB 41 intentionally restricts women’s access to health care services by funneling public funds to providers that “exclusively promote and support childbirth,” while cutting out qualified medical providers who offer the full range of family planning services including birth control and abortion care.
“With this bill, Gov. Scott and his legislative allies are putting politics over women’s health,” said Amy Weintraub, Reproductive Rights Program Director for Progress Florida. “Under no circumstances should taxpayers be forced to pay for these fake clinics that operate with virtually no oversight and judge, shame, and mislead women.”
These clinics use deceptive and manipulative practices to stop women from having access to the full range of reproductive care – particularly birth control and abortion. To confuse women, they use deceptive practices such as intentionally placing advertisements under the “abortion services” heading of phone and Internet directories and choosing names that are similar to clinics that offer abortion services.
“These fake women’s health centers advertise free pregnancy testing and pregnancy-options education, but they oppose abortion and contraception and intentionally try to trick women,” said Annie Jae Filkowski of St. Petersburg, who experienced one of these fake clinics firsthand as a 16-year-old seeking a pregnancy test. “I struggle to understand how a legitimate health care provider could operate like this.”
In recent years, Gov. Scott and Florida lawmakers have repeatedly attacked women’s access to reproductive health care, in particular targeting access to abortion. One of these avenues of attack has been the funding of these fake women’s health centers with taxpayer dollars.
“To be clear, these fake clinics peddle falsehoods that have been repeatedly discredited by extensive scientific research and the country’s most prominent medical associations,” said Dr. Nicole Fanarjian, a Sarasota-based obstetrician and gynecologist. “And they undermine a woman’s dignity by attempting to shame and pressure her and take away her ability to make her own decisions.”
“By signing this bill, Gov. Scott is demonstrating a total disregard for the truth, undermining a woman’s right to make her own informed medical decisions and denying her the respect and dignity she deserves,” said Laura Goodhue, Executive Director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “When a woman has decided to seek birth control or an abortion, or to discuss her reproductive health options, she deserves access to a qualified medical provider she can trust to provide her with a full range of options and services without an agenda, judgment or deception.”
Earlier this month, 13 members of the Floridians for Reproductive Freedom Coalition sent Gov. Scott a letter urging him to veto HB 41. The groups included Equality Florida, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Florida Interfaith Coalition for Reproductive Health, League of Women Voters of Florida, National Council of Jewish Women, Organize Florida, Pro-Choice Coalition of Broward County, Progress Florida, Broward County National Organization for Women, Broward Women’s Emergency Fund, Inc, Florida National Organization for Women, Space Coast Progressive Alliance and the National Abortion Federation.
Image source: Progress Florida
Progress Florida and Environmental Action delivered more than 7,000 petitions from Floridians urging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deny permits for seismic airgun surveys – the first step toward offshore drilling – in protected areas of the Atlantic Ocean, including along the Florida coastline.
The petitions were submitted to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service public comment record that was to close today but has been extended until July 21. Additionally, the petitions call upon U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to oppose President Trump’s reckless plan to open up the South Atlantic Planning Area, including large swaths off the Florida coast, to seismic testing and potentially oil and gas drilling. More than 120 east coast municipalities formally oppose offshore drilling and seismic air gun blasting activity off their coasts.
“Oil drilling poses a tremendous risk to Florida’s fragile coastal environment and our tourism-based economy,” said Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo. “Floridians are unified against dirty, dangerous oil drilling and in favor of clean, renewable energy like solar power which will save consumers and businesses money today and protect our coastal waters, beaches, and economies for tomorrow.”
Seismic blasts have a devastating effect on turtles, dolphins and whales, which depend on sound to find food, mate, navigate, avoid predators, take care of their young and survive. “The noise from seismic air gun blasts is so loud that it can be heard up to 2,500 miles from the source, devastating marine life, harming fisheries and coastal economies,” added Ferrulo. Five applications for Atlantic seismic air gun surveys are currently pending after Trump reversed the Obama Administration’s rejection of seismic airgun surveying off the Atlantic Coast.
Offshore drilling is the slowest, dirtiest and most expensive way to generate energy. According to the federal Mineral Management Service, hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed 113 oil platforms, damaged 457 pipelines, caused 124 spills totaling 741,000 gallons of oil including six spills of 1,000 barrels or greater. And that was all before BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster wreaked havoc on the waters, wildlife, and local communities throughout Florida’s Gulf region.
“Opening our coasts to destructive drilling would do little to make us energy independent, but it would threaten our beaches with pollution and oil spills and could destroy our multi-billion dollar tourism and fishing industries,” added Ferrulo.
Those wishing to comment on the seismic testing applications can find instructions on how to do so here.
Statement from Progress Florida Executive Director, Mark Ferrulo, on Gov. Scott’s signing into law HB 7069:
“Today, Gov. Rick Scott ignored thousands of parents, teachers and community leaders who have spoken out against this travesty of a bill and embraced a secret and unaccountable process to deal an underhanded sucker punch to public education in our state. Our students — the next generation of Floridians — are the ones who will pay the price.
Below is a statement from Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo on today’s U.S. House vote to repeal large portions of the Affordable Care Act:
“Florida’s U.S. Representatives who voted to repeal critical patient and consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act and replace it with Trumpcare have ignored condemnation by health professionals and turned their backs on Florida families. In doing so, they’re shamelessly doling out $600 billion in tax cuts for the very wealthy and big insurance and drug companies.
“Trumpcare will increase health care costs, reduce quality of care, strip coverage from an estimated 24 million Americans and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Adding insult to injury, Trumpcare would exempt Members of Congress from the law.
“Trumpcare is a disaster in the making and literally a death sentence for some Floridians.”
The Florida House today passed a measure that would impose term limits on state Supreme Court and appeals court judges. Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo issued the following statement on behalf of the Florida Access to Justice Project:
“Today’s vote is yet another in a series of attacks against the courts for doing their job and striking down unconstitutional actions by the legislature. We hope the Senate takes a more responsible approach and doesn’t continue to move this dangerous proposal forward.
“This resolution is nothing more than petty political retribution on the part of leaders in the Florida House who resent the court for doing its job and acting as a check on their abuse of power.
“We don’t need to limit the terms of the judges on our highest courts. What we need is experienced, seasoned jurists, and we need to keep politics out of our judicial system.”
During a press call today, Florida leaders and elected officials called on Sens. Nelson and Rubio to reject Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Neil Gorsuch has made clear that he’ll put the interests of the wealthy and powerful above the rights of ordinary Americans. This nomination poses a unique threat to the rights of women, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and working families.
Shevrin Jones, State Representative:
“Americans count on the Supreme Court to protect the rights of all people, not just the rich and powerful. Judge Gorsuch, though, has repeatedly ruled in favor of big corporations, hurting working people and everyday Americans. If Gorsuch is confirmed to the bench, we’d see him sacrifice the rights of working people, stack the deck against consumers and in favor of corporations, and restrict access to health care for women and millions of poor Americans. Judge Gorsuch was hand-picked by powerful institutions for his loyalty to a judicial ideology that sacrifices the interests of ordinary Americans.”
Daisy Baez, State Representative:
“When I was serving in the Army, I took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution. When I became a U.S. citizen, I took an oath to defend the Constitution. And when I was sworn in as a state representative, I took an oath to defend the Constitution. So here I am, defending the Constitution! Americans need a Supreme Court that will protect our Constitutional rights and promote justice for all, including American immigrants. Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch will be anything but a fair-minded judge who protects all Americans. He’s tried to make it harder for Americans to hold big corporations accountable, and he would be a rubber stamp—not the check the judiciary is supposed to be—for Trump and his administration.”
Tony Lima, Executive Director of SAVE:
“Freedom, opportunity, and equality for all are essential principles of the American Dream. Americans have often turned to the Supreme Court to uphold those values and reject policies based in bigotry and discrimination. But Judge Gorsuch would turn his back on LGBTQ rights. His ruling in Hobby Lobby, which allowed corporations to refuse to offer birth control as part of healthcare coverage, raises serious red flags. And Gorsuch has criticized those who turn to the courts to protect LGBTQ rights! We insist that our Senators stand up for Floridians and fundamental American and constitutional principles and say no to Gorsuch.”
Damien Filer, Why Courts Matter Coalition spokesperson:
“In the system of checks and balances designed by our country’s founders, the Supreme Court plays a crucial role in defending the promises of the Constitution. But that only works if we have Supreme Court justices who are willing to do so. When we don’t, we can see disastrous results, like the Supreme Court’s conservatives voting to gut the Voting Rights Act, and opening the door to politicians making it harder for people to vote. Americans have made it clear that they are willing to stand up to our new president when he betrays our constitutional values. The Senate has a responsibility to ensure this nominee won’t be a rubber stamp for President Trump, especially when Trump’s actions threaten fundamental principles like religious or reproductive freedom, the rights of workers and the rights of all Americans to breathe clean air. We urge Floridians to get informed, get engaged and get active and let Senators Nelson and Rubio know this nominee is simply out of touch with mainstream American values.