Florida Gov. Rick Scott Signs Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill Into Law

In a shocking move Friday, far-right Governor Rick Scott of Florida signed into law a controversial measure that would target Planned Parenthood’s operations in the state but has far-reaching effects for all abortion providers in the Sunshine State.

The bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Friday will revoke taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood’s “abortion business” and impose strict guidelines for other abortion providers in the state. Similar to other anti-abortion laws passed recently, Gov. Rick Scott’s anti-abortion law prohibits abortions from being performed in facilities that don’t meet certain criteria as outlined below.

“Doctors performing abortions [are required] to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, requires annual licensure inspections for clinics and bans the purchase sell or transfer of fetal remains. The law upgrades the failure to properly dispose of fetal tissue from a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor,” reports MSNBC on Rick Scott’s abortion law.

Some of the restrictions are called common sense restrictions by Republican lawmakers, including Rick Scott, who remains firm that the bill is not politically motivated. Scott reports that the bill is designed to protect women’s health.

The bill Rick Scott signed into law on Friday was reportedly designed to target Planned Parenthood, which is not specifically named in the bill but will be deprived of taxpayer funding because the organization does provide, at some locations, abortion procedures. The Rick Scott bill is specific in that it will prohibit taxpayer money from going to any organization or healthcare clinic that provides abortions – even if the facility provides other kinds of care.

Critics of the Rick Scott bill have alleged that the bill will have a serious impact on the health and well-being of low-income women, to whom Planned Parenthood provides preventative care and cancer screenings. While Planned Parenthood isn’t entirely taxpayer funded, the Rick Scott bill will cut deep into the organization’s ability to provide healthcare to women in need.

“For Rick Scott to prioritize political pandering over his own constituents’ access to healthcare is more than cynical. It’s shameful,” said Laura Goodhue, the executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

On the other hand, anti-abortion groups are calling the Rick Scott bill a victory, stating that their only concern is ensuring that if women are going to seek out abortion procedures, they should be done within a reasonable distance of a hospital.

Governor Rick Scott signed the bill on Friday, but it doesn’t go into effect until July 1, at which time the ACLU has stated they will be challenging the law in Florida’s courts. The executive director of the ACLU in Florida, Howard Simon, said he wasn’t surprised that Rick Scott signed the bill into law.

“He claims to be small government, pro-freedom and opposed to putting government in between people and their doctors – except when it comes to Florida’s women,” said Simon.

According to the New York Times, after Rick Scott signed the bill into law, Florida has joined 23 other states to pass similar restrictions on abortion providers. Specifically, the Rick Scott bill prohibits Medicaid and other public funds from being used to reimburse organizations that work with abortion providers, reports the New York Times.

In some of those other states, similar laws have been struck down for being unconstitutional, including one such law in Alabama, which a U.S. District Court judge stated “unconstitutionally restricts the rights of women seeking abortions in Alabama.”

“It would eliminate abortions ervices in approximately two thirds of the state,” wrote the federal court judge on the controversial anti-abortion law in Alabama, which shares many similarities with the Rick Scott bill signed into law on Friday.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]