January 24, 2011
Contact: Media Office ACLU of Florida (786) 363-2737

TALLAHASSEE - The ACLU of Florida will testify today in the Florida House Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee in opposition to three bills which restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion care. In a video statement released today, Maria Kayanan, ACLU of Florida Associate Legal Director, describes how the bills, HB 839, HB 277, and HB 1327, impede women’s reproductive freedom.

The following is a transcript of the video and may be attributed to Maria Kayanan, Associate Legal Director, ACLU of Florida:

“The House Subcommittee is hearing three separate abortion bills, all of which seek to intrude into a very difficult, personal, private medical decision that should remain between a woman, her doctor, her family and her faith.

“One of the core missions of the ACLU is to protect the reproductive rights of women. A woman should be able to decide whether and when to bear a family. If she decides to bear children, she should have the absolute best prenatal care available. If she decides not to go through with a pregnancy, she should have safe and legal access to good medical care.

“These bills all impede those rights and intrude upon the doctor-patient relationship and they all presume that women simply don’t know what’s best for their own futures.

“The first bill, which is House Bill 839, attempts to ban abortions post-viability, but defines viability as starting at twenty weeks. Every pregnancy is different, and every woman should be able to decide with her doctor, based on her own medical history and the doctor’s best medical judgment, whether and when to terminate the pregnancy. Viability varies from pregnancy to pregnancy, and from woman to woman. This is a medical decision, not a legislative political decision.

“The second bill is House Bill 277, which attempts to impose onerous regulations on abortion care providers that are not imposed on any other form of healthcare provider. It is an attempt to regulate safe and lawful abortions out of existence, and turn back the clock four decades before Roe v. Wade.

“The bill also adds a twenty-four hour waiting period as part of the informed consent that the woman must receive from the physician, which simply assumes the woman can’t make a sound, reasoned judgment on her own with her doctor as to whether or not she should wait 24 hours. That should be a decision left to the doctor and to his patient.

“The previous two bills have as an underlying message that the legislature of Florida doesn’t trust women. However, the last bill, House Bill 1327, indicates that the legislature especially doesn’t trust women of color – African American women, Asian women and Latina woman – and requires physicians to question them about their motives for obtaining an abortion.

“Although the bill purports to ban abortions based on race and sex selection, there is absolutely no evidence that women are obtaining abortions for those reasons. There’s not even a test, as far as we know, to determine the race of the fetus.

“This bill is simply an attempt to use race as a wedge to criminalize abortion, and it is related to the despicable billboards across the country that equate abortion to racial genocide.”

The video statement may be viewed on YouTube here:

For information on obtaining an HD version of the video statement to be used in broadcasts, contact Media Office, ACLU of Florida, (786) 363-2737,

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