Texas-like abortion bill filed in Florida; pro-choice coalition to protest Oct. 2 at Collier County Courthouse

Demonstrations planned across the country

Pro-choice demonstrators protest in Naples, Fla., on May 21, 2019. (Photo: Author)

Sept. 23, 2021 by David Silverberg

The fight over women’s reproductive rights in Florida was joined yesterday, Sept. 22, when state House Bill (HB) 167, a Florida version of the Texas abortion prohibition law, was filed by Rep. Webster Barnaby (R-27-Volusia County) at 9:14 am.

As the bill’s summary states, it: “Requires physician to conduct test for, & inform woman seeking abortion of, presence of detectable fetal heartbeat; prohibits physician from performing or inducing abortion if fetal heartbeat is detected or if physician fails to conduct test to detect fetal heartbeat; provides exceptions; authorizes private civil cause of action for certain violations; provides for civil remedies & damages.”

State Rep. Webster Barnaby (Photo: Barnaby campaign)

Oddly, while the introduction caused an immediate storm of protest from pro-choice activists and Democrats, Barnaby himself was silent about the bill, neither issuing a statement explaining his action nor posting any comment on his social media platforms.

Pro-choice groups around the country were already organizing for a National Day of Action to Mobilize and Defend Reproductive Rights on Saturday, Oct. 2. In Florida, the group Florida Reproductive Freedom is organizing rallies in 13 cities throughout the state.

In Collier County a coalition of groups has called for a major demonstration at the Collier County Courthouse in Naples that Saturday, Oct. 2, at 10 am for two hours. (Full disclosure: The Paradise Progressive is a sponsor.)

The demonstration is intended to get elected officials to commit to reproductive freedom.

Scheduled speakers include Stephanie Fraim, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida; Corrie Vega, a Collier County public school teacher and Rev. Tony Fisher of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Naples.

Angela Cisneros, co-founder of Collier NOW (National Organization for Women) and a scheduled speaker, stated: “We all desire to live a safe and healthy life, free to pursue our own paths. However, the types of bans passed in Texas and currently being framed here in Florida are in direct opposition to that premise. An abortion ban would be especially detrimental to those of us from communities with few resources that already face barriers to basic healthcare.”

State Senate prospects

The Florida Senate’s president, Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-10-Citrus and Hernando counties), may introduce similar legislation in that body.

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-28-Collier County), the Senate Majority Leader and a possible Senate president in 2022, told Florida Politics after the Supreme Court let stand the Texas law that she is “pro-life but I am not pro-telling on your neighbors.”

Passidomo said in a speech to the Argus Foundation in Sarasota that she does not favor an exact “cut-and-paste” of the Texas law for Florida.

“There are provisions in there that don’t make sense,” she said. “We need to do what’s right for Florida.”

Passidomo stressed, however, that she is an anti-abortion legislator.

Poster for the Oct. 2 rally at the Collier County Courthouse.

Liberty lives in light

© 2021 by David Silverberg

SWFL state legislators get failing grades for putting people last

06-21-19 Report-card-F

June 21, 2019 by David Silverberg

All of Southwest Florida’s state legislators received failing grades in the People First Report Card issued yesterday, June 20, by Progress Florida, a non-profit organization founded in 2008 to promote progressive values.

Seventeen votes during the past legislative session were used to grade the lawmakers.

“We’ve graded each legislator based on their votes on issues that matter to Floridians: our economy, our public schools, our environment, our civil rights, reproductive freedom, gun safety, and more,” states the People First Report Card website.

“Florida politicians like to talk a good game when it comes to supporting Florida families, but this scorecard shows which ones are actually walking the walk with their votes,” Mark Ferrulo, the organization’s executive director, stated. “Now, more than ever, it’s important Floridians know which lawmakers are doing right by everyday Floridians, and which ones are really in the hip pocket of corporate lobbyists or ideological extremists.”

Thirty-nine lawmakers received “A” grades from the organization, up from 17 last year.

The grades of Southwest Florida legislators are listed below:

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo

Republican – Naples, District 28 – Grade: F (35%)

 Rep. Bob Rommel

Republican – Naples, District 106 – Grade: F (29%)

Rep. Byron Donalds

Republican – Naples, District 80 – Grade: F (29%)

Rep. Dane Eagle

Republican – Cape Coral, District 77 – Grade: F (29%)

Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen

Republican – Fort Myers, District 78 – Grade: F (33%)

The full list is available here.

Liberty lives in light

© 2019 by David Silverberg