A bill passed in the Florida legislature this week would effectively defund Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights clinics by preventing state agencies from working with any organization that provides abortion care other than that for victims of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is at risk.
As the bill heads to governor Rick Scott for his signature, several state lawmakers who have insisted that plentiful alternatives exist for reproductive and sexual healthcare have cited a list of health centers that includes dentists, optometrists, and elementary schools.
“I don’t understand how they put this list together,” said Kheyanna Suarez, a student at Florida Atlantic University who first started visiting Planned Parenthood when she was 16. “Were they blind and mashed everything from Google on to one list? A dental office, a Salvation Army, an elementary school – I can’t go and get care at those places. If I have to leave my healthcare up to the places on that list, I am scared. I don’t think an elementary school can prescribe me birth control.”
During a March 2 hearing state lawmaker Lori Berman asked a co-sponsor of the bill for a list of alternative clinics that could provide the same services to those provided by Planned Parenthood.
This is what she received:
The state list of federally qualified health centers that Berman received the next day includes 67 schools ranging from the elementary to high school level.
During the hearing, the bill’s supporters also repeatedly noted that there are 29 federally funded public health centers for every one Planned Parenthood health center in the state, implying that the defunding of Planned Parenthood would have little impact on patients. The anti-choice Florida Family Policy Council, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, and Americans Defending Freedom repeatedly cited this 29:1 ratio in their lobbying for HB 1411.
“That ratio number is based on this list,” Berman told the Guardian, “which is a fallacious list since many of the providers on that list are in no position to provide women’s healthcare.”
And let's not forget that all of this overreaction is based on those doctored videos that have been proven in a court of law to have been falsified and whose creators have now been indicted.
And yet this witch hunt continues on as if those facts simply do not matter.
Because let's fact it, to conservatives those facts simply do not matter.