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Abortion advocates say new Florida website lacks vital information

Demonstrators listen to speeches during a rally in support of abortion rights, Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky
FILE - Demonstrators listen to speeches during a rally in support of abortion rights, Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Miami.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on May 17 directing the Florida Department of Health to create a pregnancy resource website.

Opponents of the bill said the website will offer pregnant women no information about abortion.

The bill comes on the heels of the state’s six-week abortion ban.

Progress Florida’s Cheyenne Drews said lawmakers like Democratic state representative Angie Nixon from Jacksonville filed amendments to the bill — but they were rejected.

“We know that Black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, so she presented an amendment to include services around doulas on this website,” Drews said. “Which is one of the most effective ways to better health outcomes.”

She said strengthening other social programs like reemployment benefits or food stamps would have a greater impact.

“If (lawmakers) wanted to actually invest in families and pregnant people, they would staff up these agencies that are facing month-long delays instead of just creating a new website,” Drews said.

Drews said the website is part of a program called Alternatives to Abortion, in place since Gov. Jeb Bush’s administration in 2005. The website will not include information on contraception, sex education, or abortion access.

“It’s very clear that this website is meant to be a state website to legitimize anti-abortion propaganda and to shame and stigmatize people seeking information about that type of reproductive care,” she said.

Clearwater Republican Berny Jacques, one of the bill’s sponsors, said on the House floor in February it was “disturbing” that other lawmakers want to add “the killing of the unborn” to the website.

She said other amendments were filed by Democratic lawmakers to include information about abortion providers, contraception, and comprehensive sex education, but were also denied.

As it stands, she said the website will only give people access to resources deemed acceptable by abortion opposers.

The website will be paid for by $466,000 in taxes.

While contraception information is not included on the website, Floridians who want to make a birth control plan still can.

The first over-the-counter option called Opill now available at major retailers.

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