Planned Parenthood protests bills to strip funds

Posted at 6:54 PM, Feb 04, 2016

Access to abortion clinics, or even just reproductive health services, could soon get more difficult in Florida, according to women's health activists.

Planned Parenthood supporters protested a state proposal Thursday morning that they say could dramatically change where young women receive care.

"We have solutions, but this isn't it. Enough is enough," said Anna Eskamani with Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

Eskamani, along with about of dozen of supporters, stood outside Senator Kelli Stargel's Lakeland office to send a strong message about a bill she's sponsoring.

"Don't take away our care," she said.

Their focus is on a package of bills that is picking up steam in Tallahassee.

The bills would strip away state or federal funding from clinics that perform abortions, and with less funding that could also restrict access for young women trying to get a simple check-up or even birth control.

"I know that I can attest that a large portion of my patients come to us because they're unable to access healthcare in the local community," said Kathryn Hall, Nurse Practitioner at Planned Parenthood in Lakeland.

In addition to wiping out public funding, Senator Stargel said the proposed measure also adds more regulations to abortion clinics in operation.

"I just hope we can get this done because I don't ink there should be a double standard when it comes to women's health," she said in a phone interview Thursday.

Pastor Steven Wedgeworth from Christ Church in Lakeland has held several pro-life rallies in Lakeland.

He's all for the proposed law and thinks in some cases it doesn't even go far enough.

"If these facilities are going to receive federal funding then they should be regulated and held accountable just like every other publicly funded institution," he said.

Eskamani told reporters state legislators are doing this under the guise of "protecting women's rights."

When in reality, she says, it's stripping away access and possibly even forcing some clinics to shutdown.

"Floridians, and especially Florida women, deserve better," she said.