Voters in Florida failed today to approve Amendment 6, which would prohibit the use of public funds for either abortions or health care coverage that would include abortions. Amendment 6 needed 60 percent of the vote to be approved today.
With 82 percent of the vote counted, Florida voters opposed the measure by a 55-45 percentage point margin. Had the measure been approved, under Obamacare, the state would not subsidize insurance plans that would cover abortion.
Amendment 6 would also prohibit interpretation of “privacy rights” in the state constitution from creating a broader right to an abortion. In 1989 the Florida Supreme Court struck down a parental-consent bill because it violated minor’s privacy rights that were contained in the state constitution. Even though Florida has a parental-notice law in effect, supporters of Amendment 6 argue it could allow for a parental-consent legislation to be enacted in Florida in the future.
Supporters say the measure would create an opening to push for broader parental-consent laws for minors seeking abortions in Florida, an effort overturned in 1989 because of the state’s constitutional language. The amendment would not ban expenditures for abortions in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is threatened, conforming with federal law.
Planned Parenthood was working overtime to make it so Florida residents must continue paying for abortions and tried to tie Amendment 6 to unpopular Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who has been a vocal supporter of legislation to reduce the number of abortions.
In Web banner ads that started popping up online, a group called “Vote No on 6″ tried to link Scott to the amendment, depicting a woman in a hospital gown who looks like she’s preparing to have a gynecological exam with the headline “Does Rick Scott belong here?”
Another has check-mark images of a female doctor, Scott and a cat.
“Who do you trust with your most personal health-care decisions?” it asks.
The banner ads are the first salvo in paid media from the Vote No on 6 group, which has raised more than $1.9 million, mostly from Planned Parenthood affiliates spanning the country from California and Hawaii to Montana and Virginia. The Sarasota Planned Parenthood chapter kicked in $250,000 two weeks ago, according to the latest campaign reports. Most Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida do not perform abortions.
No on 6 has also purchased $1 million in television ad time to hit during the final days before the Nov. 6 election.
Jim Frankowiak, the head of the group sponsoring the ballot measure, Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights, told the Orlando paper: “Government should not pay for abortion. National surveys keep telling us that, whether you’re pro-life, pro-choice and other. It’s kind of amazing what they’re saying and how much money they’re spending.”
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The state constitution states: “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life … .”
Amendment 6 would clear the way for legislation requiring parental consent for a minor’s abortion. The conservative Legislature passed such a requirement in 1999, but the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional because of the state’s privacy language.
“Our focus is, no government dollars for abortion – that we want to be aligned with federal law – and we want to open the door to future legislation that will bring back parental consent for the abortion of a minor female,” said Frankowiak during the campaign.