Repro Rights Updates

First up is Florida, where the Florida Catholic Conference wrote up a bill and handed it to Rep. Larry Ahern (R-St. Petersburg), who in turn intro'd it into the state legislature. No, really, Ahern actually says that they just handed it to him. The bill is called: Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act. HB 137 (it's other title), says:
Offenses Against Unborn Children: Designates act "Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act"; defines term "unborn child" for specified purposes; revises terminology to refer to "unborn child" rather than "viable fetus"; provides legislative intent; provides that certain offenses relating to killing of unborn child by injury to mother do not require specified knowledge or intent or death of mother.
Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) intro'd mirror bill, SB 234, in the Senate. Essentially it changes terminology previously present in laws where "viable fetus" was will now be "unborn child".
According to Ahern, the Catholic Conference has been asking legislators to pass such a law for a few years. Ahern says the bill would “more accurately define life” and would make sure that the life “of an unborn child is more protected.”
The Florida Catholic Conference, btw, is also responsible for providing legislators with a conscience clause amendment to the state’s Medicaid policies that allows health care workers to "opt out" of giving family planning services.


In Ohio, on Tuesday, the Senate passed legislation (which had already passed the House) that makes it even harder for minors to get an abortion without parental consent.
The bill requires a court to ask whether the minor understands the physical and emotional consequences of an abortion and whether the minor has been coached on how to answer the court’s questions when seeking a judicial bypass for parental approval.

The Ohio House already approved the bill but will have to agree with a new provision the Senate added before the bill is sent to Republican Gov. John Kasich’s desk for his signature.

The Senate’s version of the bill requires a minor to get approval in the county she lives in or in a surrounding county. Republicans said the change will prevent minors from “shopping” for a friendly court.
"Shopping", eh? You mean trying to find a sympathetic judge to allow her to have autonomy over her own body. According to Guttmacher (.pdf), in Ohio a minor has all rights regarding seeking adoption as a choice but not abortion.
The bill, House Bill 63, requires minors to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that abortions are in their best interests.

“A bypass should not merely be a rubber stamp of the abortion industry,” Sen. Keith Faber, a Republican from Celina, said on the Senate floor.
Yes. That's exactly what judicial bypasses are! Rubber stamps for "the abortion industry". Such astounding depth of critical thinking, right there. Depth? I meant dearth.

So, anyway, yes: Ohio is making 15 or 16 year olds go before a judge, near where they live (no "shopping"!), be interrogated regarding how much they know (and if they know too much, perhaps they're coached?! No abortion then!), and have to provide convincing evidence that having a child at this stage of their lives is detrimental. Clear and convincing! Of course, if a young woman is deemed not mature enough to make the choice to have an abortion, she is OBVIOUSLY mature enough to be forced by the state to give birth and deal with parenthood or the possible trauma of having to give a child up for adoption. Let's not forget that abortion is a time-sensitive procedure and courts don't usually have wide-open schedules. Or operate on non-school days during non-school hours. Ohio: won the race to the bottom of the barrel and keeps on digging under it.


Back in July, I wrote about an anti-choice, anti-Planned Parenthood group that decided to investigate Planned Parenthood and expose them as, well, something. I still haven't quite figured it out. Possibly as Evil™. One of the group's goals was to get Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood. Well:
WASHINGTON — A Republican-led House panel has asked the Planned Parenthood Federation of America to hand over more than a decade’s worth of documents in a probe of whether the organization improperly spends public money on abortions.


“The committee has questions about the policies in place and actions undertaken by PPFA and its affiliates relating to its use of federal funding and its compliance with federal restrictions on the funding of abortions,” Rep. Cliff Stearns, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce investigations subcommittee, wrote in a Sept. 15 letter to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

Due by the end of the month: internal audits of how much Planned Parenthood received and spent in government money from 1998 to 2010. Stearns also requests any state audits of PPFA for the last 20 years that have not been made public, as well as a description for how “segregation between family planning and abortion services is accomplished,” and how the practice is monitored for compliance.

“The American taxpayer does not want to be in the business of abortion, and this investigation is an important first step toward ending public funding of the nation’s largest abortion provider,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, which earlier this year conducted and presented to Stearns’ committee its own study on Planned Parenthood.
Oh HAI! I am an American taxpayer! I'm more than happy to assist pay for abortions for those in need with my tax contributions, just as I am for any other necessary health service. So, stop speaking for me.

Planned Parenthood is regularly audited by the inspector general of DHHS and also by state Medicaid programs. Results are always public. I, as an American taxpayer, do not want to be in the business of this gigantic waste of time attacking a valuable health care provider. Can I opt out of paying for this shit? Thanks.

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