In the News 2014

A Right to Choose…One Way or the Other

A hundred women wearing pink braved stormy weather to come to the Capitol over concerns their right to control their bodies might change this legislative session.

Three pending bills would restrict or ban abortions all-together, Laura Robinson made the trip from Sarasota.

“It’s extremely important, that’s why we’re all here,” said Robinson, “we’re all here to make sure that women’s rights are protected.”

Sarah Hutchinson from Catholics for Choice made it clear that Florida’s Bishops, who want restrictions, don’t speak for all Catholics.

“We imagine a world where women and men are trusted to make moral decisions about their own lives each according to his or her own conscience,” Hutchinson said.

A handful of Democratic legislators came to show support, but no GOP members showed up. Rep. Joe Saunders (D-Orlando) says his Republican colleagues are out of step.

“We keep seeing the same bills filed, we keep seeing the same bills move,” said Rep. Saunders. “The public is not where this building is when it comes to women’s health care.”

On the back side of the Capitol is the other side of the story. In the shadow of the State Supreme Court, which more than two decades ago called a fetus a specialized set of cells, a small group from Ft. Myers was collecting petitions to change the court decision. They want to give a fetus personhood status at conception.

“And we wish also that all the rights of all the females that are in fetus,” said Kathy Doan of Personhood Amendment, “that those will be protected so that they could choose.”

None of the restrictive legislation is so far on the fast track and neither side is likely to claim victory in an election year. The Personhood Amendment is new, has no signatures verified, and faces an uphill battle for the 2016 ballot.

This piece was originally published by Capitol News Service.

Catholics for Choice