Planned Parenthood Condemns Committee Vote Taking Assistance Away from Pregnant Women
West Palm Beach, FL – Today, members of the Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives passed HB 501 out of committee by a ten to five party line vote. This legislation would allow funds raised from the sale of “Choose Life” license plates to be used on advertising instead of providing direct assistance to pregnant women who choose adoption.
Under HB 501, agencies that receive funds will no longer be required to direct at least 70% of the money to assisting with the material needs of pregnant women committed to adoption or infants awaiting placement with adoptive parents. Rather, 100% of the funds generated could now be spent on billboards and yellow book ads, or could be spent in other states to help them obtain their own “Choose Life” plate. Members of the committee had an opportunity to protect pregnant women and infants awaiting adoption, but failed to adopt any amendments offered by Representative Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) or Representative Richard Steinberg (D-Miami).
“Members of the Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee failed to protect the women of Florida today,” said Lillian Tamayo, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast. “Instead, they chose ideology and billboards over the needs of pregnant women.”
Sponsored by Representative Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), the bill also removes control of the money from the counties that currently receive the funds and redirects it to an organization called Choose Life, Inc. to determine how to use the license plate funds, even if that means distributing funds to agencies that provide medically inaccurate information to women.
There have been documented instances in which so-called crisis pregnancy centers have given inaccurate information to a woman about her pregnancy. Giving inaccurate information can have an effect on a woman’s health, especially if pregnancy poses a health risk. These centers have also withheld essential, often life-saving, medically accurate reproductive health information from women who are led to believe that they are visiting a neutral and objective medical facility.
“Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization to prevent unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion,” added Tamayo. “So-called crisis pregnancy centers, on the other hand, often discourage women from using the most reliable methods of birth control, leaving them vulnerable to unintended pregnancy all over again.”
The mission of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast is to provide comprehensive sexual health care through the provision of clinical services, education and advocacy. We do so by understanding and responding to the needs of those seeking our services, and by protecting and respecting the essential privacy rights, dignity and culture of each individual.
Judith Selzer (561) 472-9940
February 22, 2011
February 25, 2011