Women, To Rick Scott & Kelli Stargel: You're Killing Me
Last summer, as an attack on Planned Parenthood was underway by anti-abortion fanatics who selectively and falsely edited videos to make it look like the clinics were selling "baby parts," Florida's Governor Rick Scott jumped at the chance to cut off women from health care by launching his own "investigation" into PP. That investigation turned up no wrongdoing, in part because Florida PP clinics don't donate fetal tissue for medical research, the issue that was targeted in the first place. Another reason was because Scott simply thought he could change the number of days which constitute the first trimester of pregnancy to make it look as though PP wasn't compliant. That didn't work either, and his bogus investigation turned up nothing.
But now, even as those who created the false videos face charges for their sham baby parts charade, Republicans continue to pretend otherwise in their crusade to attack Planned Parenthood, and Republicans in Florida are no exception. Because Scott couldn't wave a magic wand to make dates change to suit his agenda, the Legislature stepped in to do it for him by passing a law that redefined the trimesters of a pregnancy. It's merely one small part of a bigger law that seeks to block women not only from abortions, but goes much, much further by cutting off women's access to basic preventive health care, and even though taxpayer dollars never fund abortions in this country, the law virtually "defunds" PP in Florida, anyway.
Starting July 1, abortion clinics will be required to have admitting privileges or transfer agreements with a nearby hospital. They also will face annual inspections by the state as part of a law that sponsor Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said is about ensuring women's safety.
"What we did with these clinics is just treat them similar to other surgery centers," Stargel said.
Critics say similar provisions in Texas led about 20 clinics to shut down. A case before the U.S. Supreme Court could rule that law unconstitutional.
This is, of course, absolute nonsense. This isn't about women's safety at all. It's about creating more hoops for women to jump through in order to get an abortion. The argument has long been made that abortions in clinics like Planned Parenthood are just as safe as many other procedures that take place in similar clinics and "surgery centers" which have no such restrictions placed on them.
Further, if women's safety is so endangered by abortions, why not make access to birth control and family planning a priority as well, instead of virtually defunding clinics that provide these things? The answer is simple, Republicans couldn't care less about women's safety, especially where GOP governors do everything in their power to cut off access to health care period, for a majority of the population, like Scott's done in Florida.
Speaking of cutting off access to basic health care while they're trying to end abortions altogether:
The bill goes further, blocking state money for cancer screenings and sexually transmitted disease tests from any clinic that performs elective abortions.
State law already bans funding abortions, but supporters of the change say nearly $200,000 spent annually on preventive care at the clinics amounts to indirectly funding the abortions themselves.
Again, so much for "women's safety." Cancer kills women in record numbers every day. When was the last time you heard of a woman dying from a legal abortion at a PP clinic, or a similar clinic? You don't. That's why abortions became legal in this country in the first place, because women were dying from unsafe back alley abortions or do it yourself procedures, something that will start happening again when clinics that provide safe abortions are defunded by Republicans, some who apparently think people will merely stop having sex when contraception and abortions are no longer accessible, and others who know better but see this as another sick way to gain power over women.
This law is so dangerous to women and so offensive as it is, but the fact that a woman, Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, who sponsored and pushed a law like this to hurt other women under the false pretense that it's really just to "protect" them is really beyond the pale. Stargel, who makes $29,697.00 as a state senator (in addition to whatever she makes as an "investment property manager" as listed in her official bio), has a nice health care plan paid for by taxpayers, including the women she's targeted in this law, many who can't afford health care or insurance for themselves. Someone in Stargel's position is well able to afford an abortion when needed, contraception, cancer screenings and basic health care, yet she has happily cut those avenues off for lower income women who still have to contribute to Stargel's own health plan.
She must be so proud to step into the arena with one of the most hated GOP governors in the nation, a man who is perfectly satisfied that six people continue to die daily in Florida without health care, simply because they can't afford it, while he, Stargel, and the rest of the GOP refuse to do anything to change that.
With this law, those numbers are likely to go up, and we can thank Republicans like Kelli Stargel for making sure many of those new statistics will be women.