Bill to defund Planned Parenthood in Florida cites dentists, prisons as reproductive care alternatives
There’s a rule in life that if you want a job done right, you do it yourself. And if you want a job done horribly wrong, you leave it up to the government — especially Florida, where everyone seems to be one beer short of a six pack.
A bill passed in the Florida legislature would effectively defund Planned Parenthood and other reproductive rights clinics by preventing state agencies from working with any organization that provides abortion care other than that for victims of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is at risk.
As the bill heads to the governor for his signature, several state lawmakers who have insisted that plentiful alternatives exist for reproductive and sexual healthcare have cited a list of health centers that includes dentists, optometrists, correctional facilities and elementary schools.
“I don’t understand how they put this list together,” said Kheyanna Suarez, a student at Florida Atlantic University who first started visiting Planned Parenthood when she was 16. “Were they blind and mashed everything from Google on to one list? A dental office, a Salvation Army, an elementary school – I can’t go and get care at those places. If I have to leave my healthcare up to the places on that list, I am scared. I don’t think an elementary school can prescribe me birth control.”
During the hearings, the bill’s supporters noted that there are 29 federally funded health centers for every one Planned Parenthood center, implying that defunding Planned Parenthood would have little impact on the reproductive and sexual healthcare treatment.
When pressed over where women might go for birth control, breast exams, pap smears and other reproductive healthcare services as alternatives to Planned Parenthood, bill supporters put forth a list that included 67 schools ranging from elementary to high school that are federally qualified health centers in the state. Don’t most women get their birth control from the elementary school physician with the sweet red truck exam table?
Sadly, like most lawmakers and government representatives across the country, they’re not considering the human consequence of the supposed law. Even by ridding Florida of the evils that lurk within the Planned Parenthood walls, you’re still not accounting for the millions of women who truly need the services that the organization provides. They won’t just disappear when Planned Parenthood disappears. By offering elementary schools, prisons and dentists offices as alternatives for care, it couldn’t be more evident of the giant chasm between lawmakers and reality.
On the bright side, now women can have their teeth checks while getting a pap smear and birth control. If that's not a win/win, we don't know what is.