A Florida bill was approved Wednesday in the state Senate requiring abortion clinics to either have a patient transfer agreement with a local hospital or admitting privileges there for the doctors who are performing abortions. That provision was included in a Texas law enacted in 2013 that contributed to the closure of around 40 abortion providers under the weight of tougher restrictions.
The bill also would prohibit public money from being used at Planned Parenthood affiliates. Government agencies, such as local and county health departments, would be prevented from funding Planned Parenthood affiliates or abortion providers for services such as cancer screenings or birth control.
House Bill 1411 passed in the Florida Senate 25-15 and will return to the House since the Senate changed language in the bill, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The original measure passed in the House last week.
Taxpayer money cannot be used to fund abortions under state law, but Medicaid allocates about $200,000 for testing for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings and other services at the state's abortion providers.
Florida lawmakers' support of the bill is fractured. Advocates maintain that the new measures promote safety for patients, while opponents contend the bill limits access to women's healthcare.
— Florida Democrats (@FlaDems) March 9, 2016
“The idea that those taxpayer dollars would go to an organization that performs abortions is simply intolerable,” Florida Sen. Rob Bradley, a Republican, told the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida Sen. Kelli Stargel, the Republican who sponsored the bill, said the measures bring abortion clinics up to par with other health facilities. “This bill says we’re going to treat abortion clinics the same way that we treat other similarly situated clinics,” she said.
The bill faced opposition from Democrats in the Senate and House, where it passed on a 74-44 vote Thursday along party lines, according to the Associated Press.
"We know what's going on here," Florida Rep. David Richardson, a Democrat, said. "What it really means is, you're trying to close these clinics through these regulations."