Women’s access to a full range of reproductive health services will be on the General Election Ballot as Amendment 6 this November.
Amendment 6 would allow politicians to intrude on personal medical decisions between a woman, her family, her faith, and her doctor. Inevitably, politicians would decide what can and cannot be covered by someone’s health plan.
“What will politicians decide to take away next? As is the case with all 11 proposed amendments that will appear on the November ballot, the legislators wrote the language to be misleading, vague, and in this case, simply inaccurate,” said Lisa Murano, Central Florida Resident and Deputy Campaign Manager for the Vote No On 6 campaign.
Amendment 6 is under the guise ‘no taxpayer funding for abortion’, however there hasn’t been taxpayer funding for abortions since the Hyde Amendment 1976.
Amendment 6 does not provide exceptions for a woman’s health or future fertility, or for fetal abnormalities. For example, if a pregnant woman is diagnosed with cancer, Amendment 6 could prevent her from getting the care she needs to protect her health.
“There is no reason why politics should step in the way of free will, that’s something that even, as a pro lifer, above that, as a catholic Christian, that’s something that I hold dear, but there’s also that line of protection whether you think it protects women or not,” said Thomas Silliker, 20, UCF, religion major. Silliker also explained that, “this issue is not that different from a teacher telling you what to study because they think that will help you with the test”.
National organizations such as Catholics for Choice, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the National Council for Jewish Women are all opposed to Amendment 6, stating that it is not in line with their religious values.
“Autonomy over one’s body and freedom is two totally different things, because autonomy means I can strike you, but freedom says that I shouldn’t because the social implications of freedom is that I respect your space.” Silliker also explained that the legal system does not define what is right and what is wrong, just as long as his taxes are not supporting something he does not agree with.
“A lot of the sponsors of these bills, they don’t care about you once you exit the womb. These are the same sponsors of cutting Women, Infant and Children programs, the same sponsors that want to roll back on social programs,” said Alexa Nelen, 22, UCF, history major with a minor in women studies .
Republicans recently proposed a bill that would cut $832 million from the Women, Infants and Children program, WIC, a federal program that provides low-income women and children healthcare, food, and assistance. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, these cuts would remove 475,000 people from the program.
“Amendment 6 is simply another attempt by politicians, like Governor Rick Scott, to interfere with decisions which are best made by a woman with her family. Tallahassee politicians cannot possibly be more trusted in making medical decisions than a woman’s own doctor,” says Lisa Murano,. She continues, “This has to do with making personal decisions.”
What taxpayer money is funding in the state of Florida are abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, programs that have been proven to be ineffective at preventing the onset of sexual intercourse. According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, since 2002, the state of Florida has spent over $64 million of taxpayer money toward these programs that have been proven failures.
In 2008, Congress held the first-ever hearing on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in which leading medical and sexual health experts from across the country testified to the ineffectiveness of the programs.
These programs have been proven to be ineffective at reducing teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and the majority of health professionals called for an end to funding these programs, and instead to shift the money toward comprehensive sexuality education that have been proven to be effective.
“Condoms are expensive, and unless you know a place like Planned Parenthood that distributes condoms for free, then you have no access to contraception, when you have low education to go with that, you don’t know what can prevent a pregnancy, or what can prevent the spread of STDs, then, where are you,” Nelen asked, referring to Seminole County, one of Florida’s abstinence-only county’s.
Four in ten poor women of reproductive age have no insurance coverage. According to Guttmacher Institute, in 2008, of the 36 million women in need of contraceptive care, More than 17 million were in need of publicly funded services and supplies because they either had an income below 250 percent of the federal poverty level or were younger than 20.
“No matter what class, what race, ideology, sexuality, where you work, or who you work for, you always deserve the right to make your own decisions, and the support from the people that you serve to do that,” Nelen said in reference reproductive health services not covered for women in the military, Peace Corps, federal prisons and those who receive care from Indian Health Services.
For more information on Amendment 6 visit VoteNoOn6.org