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Commission on the Status of Women report leaves out anti-abortion bills

The Florida Commission on the Status of Women recently released its “2011 Summary of Florida Laws Affecting Women and Families” without any mention of the five abortion bills that were signed into law this year in Florida.

The Florida Commission on the Status of Women is listed as a “nonpartisan board.” The governor, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president of Senate and the attorney general appoint four members; the Chief Financial Officer and commissioner of agriculture appoint three each.

According to the Commission’s website, the organization’s “mandate is to study and make recommendations to the Governor, Cabinet and Legislature on issues affecting women. These recommendations are presented in the form of an annual report that is distributed in the first quarter of each year.”

The published “Summary of Florida Laws” (.pdf) includes the state’s education budget and its Medicaid overhaul. Even though the Commission’s announcement of the publication mentions that “laws were passed that impact women’s health,” the report does not include the five bills passed this year that deal with curbing women’s reproductive rights in the state.

There is a petition circulating that alerts the commission about this oversight.

The petition states:

Not included in this publication were: HB 97, which restricts abortion coverage through private insurance plans; HB 501, which allows for more funds from the sale of “Choose Life” license plates to fund “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”; HB 1127, which mandates an ultrasound be performed prior to an abortion; HJR 1179, which places on the Nov. 2012 ballot an amendment to our Florida Constitution to impose further restrictions on abortion; and HB 1247, which changes and further restrict our parental notification laws.

We urge the FCSW to accurately produce publications in a transparent manner in order to inform the public on the legislation that will impact their lives. It is incumbent upon our Florida Commission on the Status of Women to consider the health of women first, even in the most controversial of circumstances.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida singled out some of the bills passed this year the by the Legislature as an endangerment to women’s health.

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