Amendment 6 is being touted by its supporters as cost-savings by ensuring that public funds are spent on the state’s most needy rather than on abortions. Don’t buy it.
It is the Legislature’s attempt to make an end run around voters’ approval of the privacy amendment to the state’s Constitution and Supreme Court decisions that guarantee a woman’s right to seek an abortion under Article 1, Section 23. Those decisions have been the foundation of Florida women’s right to an abortion.
If Amendment 6 passes, it could render those decisions moot, leaving women’s choice on abortions in perilous limbo here.
The amendment also would allow the Legislature to enact a law requiring parental approval for a minor girl’s abortion.
Requiring parents’ consent for a minor’s abortion may sound like a good idea on the surface, but in reality it would only be a burden for teenage girls who are already in difficult home situations. The truth is, most pregnant girls share their decision with their parents. But girls who are impregnated by a relative may be in danger if they tell a parent about their predicament.
Current state law requires parental notification but not their consent. It also allows a minor-aged girl to bypass parents by obtaining court approval for an abortion. And the law also allows abortions for minors in cases of medical emergency without parental consent. These provisions put the rights and safety of the minor first, which is as it should be in this instance.
Amendment 6 also proposes prohibiting the use of public money for abortions — even if they’re covered by a woman’s health insurance — except as required by federal law and to save the mother’s life. It also stipulates that the state Constitution cannot be interpreted to include broader rights to abortion than those contained in the U.S. Constitution.
This is not needed. The state’s largest safety net, Medicaid, already is prohibited from paying for abortions except in cases of life endangerment, rape and incest.
Another problem with Amendment 6 is that it would interfere between a pregnant woman and her healthcare provider in cases where any public funding is involved, leaving her to find another way to pay for care related to a dangerous pregnancy.
Amendment 6 is disingenuous and a threat to women’s reproductive rights. It also would intrude politicians between women and their doctors, the only two individuals who should be involved in a decision to terminate a pregnancy.
On Amendment 6, The Miami Herald recommends: Vote No.