ACLU Applauds Governor Crist's Decision to Veto Anti-Women's Health Legislation

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
June 11, 2010 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Florida
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MIAMI – The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida applauds Governor Crist’s decision to veto HB 1143, a bill that would have drastically undermined access to reproductive healthcare for Florida women and allowed government to dictate what types of health insurance coverage private employers may offer their employees.

The ACLU stands firmly behind the Governor’s decision, and sees the veto as a victory for women’s rights, reproductive rights, health care, privacy and personal freedom.

“For those who are concerned about government intrusion into the most personal, private decisions that individuals face, today’s decision was a victory,” said Courtenay Strickland, ACLU of Florida Director of Public Policy. “Had HB 1143 become law, countless Florida women would not have been able to buy health insurance that covers abortion care, even with their own money, and even if they received no government subsidy to purchase their insurance. As a result, millions of Floridians would have lost the coverage that they currently have through the private market.”

HB 1143, which was passed in the eleventh hour of the 2010 Florida legislative session without opportunity for public comment, review by any committee of the Legislature or expert testimony, would have:

  • Put government in the exam room, requiring physicians, before performing an abortion in the first trimester, to perform an ultrasound and requiring women to hear about or see the results;
  • Gone far beyond recent federal health insurance reforms by altogether precluding a person or company that receives a subsidy from buying comprehensive coverage in the exchange; and
  • Allowed government to dictate to businesses that receive tax credits what types of health insurance coverage they can provide to their employees.

On May 10, thirty-five organizations—representing more than one million Floridians—joined forces to send Governor Crist a letter urging him to veto HB 1143. The letter was part of a larger collaborative effort by a broad spectrum of organizations, including the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Inc., to alert Floridians across the state about the realities of this anti-women’s rights legislation. As a result, Governor Crist received a surge of phone calls and emails from concerned constituents from all walks of life who disagreed with one or more points in HB 1143.

Howard Simon, Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida, added, “Governor Crist recognized that this bill was a government overstep of the worst kind – into the private health care decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor and without the intrusion of Tallahassee politicians trying to dictate medical practice.”

We worked hard – with key allies such as Planned Parenthood and Progress Florida – to get thousands of our members and supporters to communicate with the Governor, but at the end of the day, this was not about the number of emails and phone calls – it was the Governor’s correct decision that HB 1143 would be bad public policy for Florida. We applaud Governor Crist for vetoing HB 1143, and in so doing, for protecting women’s health, personal privacy, and individual freedom,” added Simon.

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