Advocates for reproductive rights converged Tuesday morning at the state Capitol to demand Gov. Rick Scott and other state departments scrutinize what kind of services and information “fake women’s health clinics” offer to women who walk through their doors.
A law that went into effect July 1 mandates that state government fund a network of not-for-profit women’s clinics known as the Florida Pregnancy Care Network, Inc. Amy Weintraub, Progress Florida reproductive rights program director, said that 105 of these 190 clinics are “fake” and work to lure vulnerable women into their facilities just to shame for their reproductive choices. The clinics staff untrained counselors who offer “advice” and will use biased, non-medical language when talking to women and girls, she said.
Representatives from Progress Florida, Planned Parenthood, the Florida League of Women Voters and other reproductive rights groups showed up to support the more than 5,500 signed petitions that were delivered to the governor’s office.
Gov. Scott declined to meet with the groups.
“We’re depending on our state government to hold these (clinics) accountable,” Weintraub said.
Weintraub said clinics should state up front whether they do or do not offer information on abortion or access to abortion services. She emphasized that transparency was at the heart of the matter so that women and girls can make informed decisions about their bodies.
Camille Walkinshaw of the Florida League of Women Voters said it’s a civil rights issue.
“If lawmakers – men and the few women we have representing us – are truly for less poverty, less domestic violence, less families headed by the mother alone and less crime, then leave the choice of when to have a baby up to the experts: the woman herself,” she said.