Planned Parenthood has made headlines during the past year. Lawmakers at the state and national level have worked to defund the organization.
But Planned Parenthood is pushing back, including here in Florida.
Amy Rooker is a junior at Florida Southern College. Rooker plans to turn to Planned Parenthood for healthcare.
She’s concerned about a bill before the Florida Legislature that could take away the group’s funding. “It is just taking away access to pap smears, to mammograms to contraceptives and STI testing, which is so important for college students like me,” Rooker said.
To draw attention to the issue, Planned Parenthood held a protest outside the Lakeland office of State Senator Kelli Stargel, a sponsor of the bill.
Anna Eskamani, with Planned Parenthood said, the bill is politically motivated, based on undercover videos that was recorded at Planned Parenthood centers around the country last summer.
“We all know the two people who were behind that smear campaign have been indicted by the State of Texas and Planned Parenthood has been cleared of any wrongdoing and so ultimately these pieces of bills are reactionary,” Eskamani said.
But Stargel said her bill has nothing to do with those videos. “I would prefer that there not be elective abortions and I will continue to fight that there not be elective abortions, but this bill is a regulatory bill to make sure the abortion clinics have the same regulations as that are for our similarly situated health care providers,” she said.
There are 16 Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida that provide abortions.
Supporters worry if they are closed, it will affect women’s healthcare. “Restricting access, which is what a lot of these legislatures are trying to do right now, it is going to hurt more women than it is going to help,” Rooker said.
Last year, Governor Rick Scott ordered a state investigation to find out if the Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida were selling fetal remains. That investigation revealed none of the clinics were.
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