In March, Florida enacted a law to ban taxpayer funding for abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood and require abortion facilities to obtain hospital admitting privileges and transfer agreements. On Thursday, Republican State Senator Kelli Stargel defended the move, which takes effect July 1, as protecting women.
“I’ve been deemed a person who hates women, that is not supportive of women’s safety. To me, it’s just the opposite,” Stargel, the bill’s Senate sponsor, said during a meeting of the state GOP. “A lot of people said I was doing model legislation from Texas, and that is not the case at all.”
“All the bill did and say was that our state contracts were not going to be with organizations that provided elected abortions,” she explained. “So if their entire business model was dependent on the state of Florida, we don’t fund abortions anyhow, so something was messed up there.”
During the event, Republican State Representative Matt Hudson also recounted learning that “there were eight county health departments that took it upon themselves without legislative authority on their own to enter into contracts with” Planned Parenthood, which he put a stop to this year.
The new law is expected to strip Florida abortion facilities of estimated $200,000 in Medicaid funds per year. It also requires facilities to report the number of abortions and the reasons women cited for them on a monthly basis, helping to correct the significant problem of abortion under-reporting.
Despite abortion advocates’ claims that defunding will threaten access to women’s health care, Federally-Qualified Health Centers and rural health clinics outnumber Planned Parenthood locations 29 to one in Florida.