More Than One Million Floridians Urge Gov. Crist to VETO HB 1143

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
May 10, 2010 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Florida
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Bill is an attack on women’s rights; Bill and process were both flawed

CONTACT: (786) 363-2737 or

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Thirty-five organizations representing more than one million Floridians joined their voices today and sent Gov. Charlie Crist a letter urging him to veto HB 1143, which attacks women’s rights in Florida.

“This letter clearly shows the overwhelming support in Florida for women’s health care and against any interference into the doctor-patient relationship,” said Stephanie Kunkel, Executive Director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “The legislature should focus on passing legislation that provides real solutions to preventing unintended pregnancy, and reducing the need for abortion.”

The bill, if signed into law by Gov. Crist, would undermine women’s rights in Florida by putting government in the physician’s examination room and dictating to private companies what insurance they may provide to their employees.

“This is an extraordinary collaborative effort by a broad spectrum of organizations representing Floridians from all walks of life,” said Maria Kayanan. “This legislation puts lawmakers in the exam room, during the most fragile point in any woman’s life, and takes the medical decision away from her and her doctor. Politicians should not have played doctor in the legislature, but they did, so now it is the Governor’s responsibility to correct their mistake.”

HB 1143 intrudes on the doctor-patient relationship by mandating that a doctor perform an ultrasound for all women prior to receiving an abortion, preventing doctors from determining what is in the best interest of each individual patient. Further, the bill would restrict individuals and private businesses that receive tax credits from providing their employees with health insurance that covers abortion, even if they don’t use federal or state subsidies to purchase their plans. The bill goes far beyond both the Hyde Amendment and the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by altogether precluding a person or company receiving a subsidy from buying comprehensive coverage in the exchange. Currently, more than 85% of employer-based health insurance plans cover abortion.

“The same people who don’t want the federal government to mandate everyone have health insurance have no problem mandating what women do with their bodies,” said Progress Florida executive director Mark Ferrulo. “Clearly, the radical right-wing of the Florida Legislature is playing politics with women’s health.”

Singling out abortion care – a service that only women need – and marginalizing it from all other care is discriminatory toward women. Access to affordable health care – including abortion care – is critical to protecting the health of women and their families. If HB 1143 were to be signed into law, the result will undoubtedly be the loss of comprehensive insurance coverage for the women of Florida.

The full text of the letter that was delivered to the Governor’s office today at noon is below:

May 10, 2010

The Honorable Charlie Crist
Governor, State of Florida
PL-05 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Dear Governor Crist,

We the undersigned organizations, representing more than one million Floridians, call upon you to veto HB 1143. This legislation would fundamentally change Florida law by restricting access to abortion for women in the state. HB 1143 is particularly troubling because despite its sweeping impact, it was never vetted through a single committee, nor given any opportunity for public comment.

By mandating an ultrasound prior to abortion, regardless of the medical situation of the individual patient, HB 1143 takes the practice of medicine out of the hands of doctors. HB 1143 could also result in women being forced to receive information they do not want and which their physician deems not appropriate, thereby infringing on their constitutional rights. A woman should be able to trust that the information she receives from her health care provider is, in fact, what her health care provider thinks is in her best interest, rather than what the state has mandated for women to receive. The decision about what medical procedures or information a patient needs is best left to women and their doctors to determine on a case-by-case basis.

The bill also restricts individuals and small businesses from purchasing health insurance that covers abortion, even if the individual or employer does not use federal or state subsidies to purchase their plan. A majority of private health insurance includes abortion coverage. If signed into law, this bill will result in women losing health care coverage they currently have today. This bill goes far beyond the Hyde Amendment or even the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by prohibiting individuals from purchasing health insurance with their own private dollars that includes abortion coverage.

If HB 1143 is signed into law, it will result in more women receiving less health care and would deny women the ability to make private health care decisions. Please protect the doctor-patient relationship in Florida and the rights of individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance plans of their choosing by vetoing HB 1143. The women of Florida deserve access to basic health care.


Jane Nesbit, President, Alta, Inc

Howard Simon, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida

Harriet Kurlander, Executive Director, American Jewish Congress, Southeast Region

Kristin Davy, Director, Bread and Roses Women’s Health Center

Barbara Herring, President, Broward Pro-Choice Coalition

Sheila Magerman, President, Broward Region of Hadassah

Kathleen E. Aterno, Florida Director, Clean Water Action

Marcia Halpern, Treasurer, Emergency Medical Assistance

Nadine Smith, Executive Director, Equality Florida

Mark Alan Seigal, Chair, The Executive Committee of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party

Stephanie Kunkel, Executive Director, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates

Chloe Pappas, Chair, Florida Atlantic University VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood

Jane Strom, President, Florida Central Region of Hadassah

Bill Newton, Executive Director, Florida Consumer Action Network

Kari Vogler, President, Florida International University VOX

Donna Slutiak, President, Florida National Organization for Voices for Planned Parenthood Women

Whitney Green, President, Florida State University VOX: Florida Young Democrats

Alexander Lewy, President, Voices for Planned Parenthood

Dianne Gottlieb, President, Greater Miami Region of Hadassah

Deirdre Macnab, President, League of Women Voters of Florida

Jill Tavlin Swartz, FL State Public Affairs Chair, National Council of Jewish Women

Marge Ellin, Co-President, National Council of Jewish Women/Sarasota-Manatee

Michelle Fortier, Director, North Florida Women’s Health and Counseling Services, Inc

Tamecka Pierce, President, Organize Now

Rand Hoch, President and Founder, Progress Florida

Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director, Palm Beach County Human Rights Council

Ellis Robinson, President, Ruth’s List Florida

Lyndsay Espinosa, President, Sante Fe College VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood

Monica Russo, President, SEIU Florida State Council

Julie Leach and Susan Hallock, co-chairs, Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church

Cristina Calandruccio, President, University of Central Florida VOX: Voices

Rocio Lopez, President, University of Florida VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood

Alyssa Comroe, President, University of Miami VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood

Gregory Johnson, President and CEO, Urban League of Pinellas County

Wild Iris Books, Inc, Gainesville, FL

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in Reproductive Freedom

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Reproductive Freedom

Reproductive Freedom issue image

The ACLU works to ensure that every person can make the best decision for themselves and their family about whether and when to have a child without undue political interference.