Planned Parenthood is pulling out all the stops in Florida to pressure Gov. Rick Scott to veto legislation that would take its tax dollars away.
Politico reports the abortion business plans to spend six figures in TV and digital ads to lobby against the pro-life legislation and motivate its supporters ahead of the presidential election.
Earlier in March, the Florida Senate passed the bill, sending it to Scott’s desk. Like many other pieces of legislation introduced across the U.S. in recent months, the bill came in response to a series of undercover videos showing the Planned Parenthood abortion business selling aborted babies’ body parts.
The bill would defund the Planned Parenthood Florida affiliate of taxpayer dollars, and require abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges or patient transfer agreements. In addition, it would increase abortion clinic inspection requirements and licensing fees.
In Florida, the abortion group receives about $200,000 in taxpayer Medicaid funds every year, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The bill will redirect those funds to comprehensive health centers instead.
State Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, previously emphasized how Florida citizens’ taxpayer dollars are funding abortions.
“We pay their light bill, we pay their salaries, we pay all kinds of things when the state contracts with these clinics,” Bean said. “Let’s get Florida out of the abortion business.”
The new Planned Parenthood ad, scheduled to begin airing Friday, is fighting back with these words: “Our state House and Senate has voted to defund Planned Parenthood,” a Planned Parenthood patient named Katie says in the ad. “Rick Scott approving this bill will mean that I won’t have access to safe health care in general and thousands of others won’t either.”
Scott is a pro-life Republican who has signed pro-life legislation in the past, but he has not indicated yet whether he will sign the new bill.
Politico speculated that the huge ad buy is more likely meant to motivate pro-abortion citizens than Gov. Scott.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards also attacked the pro-life legislation in a statement.
“We’re making sure Rick Scott hears directly from the women who stand to lose their care if he signs this bill,” Richards said. “What’s happening in Florida is part of an unprecedented attack on women’s access to basic health care in this country.”
The attack campaign uses the abortion giant’s typical rhetoric. It labels pro-life legislators as “out-of-touch politicians attacking reproductive health.” It does not mention the word “abortion,” and it makes its non-abortion “health services” out to be more important than they really are. And the ads imply that women will have no where else to go if Planned Parenthood looses its taxpayer funding, a statement that pro-life advocates have proven false.
The reality is that Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services have been declining rapidly, according to its own annual reports. Between 2009 and 2014, Planned Parenthood’s cancer screenings and breast exams/breast care dropped by more than half, according to its annual reports. “Cancer screenings” fell from 1,830,811 to just 682,208 in that same period of time. “Breast exams/breast care” fell by more than half, from 830,312 in 2009 to 363,803 in 2014 and Pap smear tests dropped nearly two-thirds, from 904,820 to 271,539.
The Florida legislation would redirect the tax dollars to other non-abortion community health services, ensuring that women will have access to basic health services. Community health centers, which offer comprehensive health care to women and families, outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities by 20 to one.
Senate sponsor State Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who sponsored the bill, previously said her legislation will ensure women are receiving quality health care.
“It is not a bill that restricts a woman’s right to choose … It’s getting the same level of care that she would have if she walked into any other clinic,” Stargel said.
If Scott signs the bill, it could face other challenges by abortion activists. Previously, an ACLU spokesperson said they would consider suing the state if the legislation becomes law. However, the spokesperson said it would depend partly on the outcome of another Florida law that the pro-abortion legal group is challenging. That law requires women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion. In February, the 1st District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the pro-life law, allowing it to take effect, LifeNews reported.
The ACLU also could be waiting on the outcome of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on a Texas pro-life law that requires abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges and abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other outpatient surgical facilities. The Texas law is arguably responsible for saving the lives of tens of thousands of unborn babies by closing abortion clinics that are unable to protect women’s health.
The high court heard oral arguments on March 2 and is expected to announce its ruling in June.