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As Pro-Choice Republicans See It: Abortion Decisions Don’t Belong on a Legislative Agenda

| April 26, 2015

The National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws will have to add a few more waits. (NARAL)

The National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws will have to add a few more waits. (NARAL)

By Nancy Smith

What rang my bell was Rep. Jennifer Sullivan’s description of HB 633, a busybody bill that would make women wait 24 hours before having an abortion. She called it — wait for this — a plan that would “empower” women.

That’s what she said, empower.

Empower what women? The only women the Mount Dora Republican’s bill would empower are the ones who believe they should interfere in a pregnant woman’s very personal, very private decision. HB 633 would carve out interference by family members, friends, boyfriend — boyfriend? — clergy, pressure people, buttinskis of every description — as a “right” under Florida law.

Let’s look at this bill practically: If it becomes law, even when a woman has already received state-mandated counseling and made a deliberate and fully informed decision, she will be forced to wait 24 hours before having an abortion. That is patently wrong.

We’re talking about women who have already made the decision to have an abortion. They should not be forced by legislators in Tallahassee to make two separate trips, 24 hours apart, before having the procedure. It adds expense, medical risk and in some parts of Florida, it could mean as much as 400 miles and eight hours of travel.

I hold that doctors and patients, not politicians, should determine the course of medical treatment, even when the treatment is abortion. And it’s time I spoke up about it.

nancy-smith-beg-to-differIn case you haven’t guessed, I am a card-carrying member of the RMC, Republican Majority for Choice. We’re thousands strong across America — old-school conservatives who believe like Barry Goldwater that government doesn’t belong in the boardroom or the bedroom.

Certainly my membership is not very politically correct in Florida today. Which is why I’ve tended to stay wussily away from the subject in Sunshine State News. But for HB 633, I’ll make an exception.

The House Health and Human Services Committee approved it on a straight party-line vote of 12-5. The day before, the Senate Health Policy Committee approved its version, SB 724, in a similar vote. [It passed the House on April 22 and the Senate two days later.] Apparently every Republican without exception on these committees believes the state should meddle in a woman’s abortion choice.

I guess it’s just as well I’m not in the Florida Legislature.

The GOP’s founding principle of personal freedom is ingrained in the Big Red Umbrella.

But let me tell you why we need more pro-choice Republicans. It’s because they understand that we can streamline spending and find ways to balance the needs of countless women and families. It’s because they are an integral part of the legislative process, committed to the universal application of the GOP’s founding principle of personal freedom.  That’s our roots. It’s ingrained in the Big Red Umbrella.

Pro-choice Republicans are vitally important to Florida and to the nation because we provide a counter to extremists on both sides. We encourage bipartisan solutions in what has become an increasingly polarized environment.

And, frankly, getting back to what’s going on in the Legislature right now, we muster up the courage to argue against bad bills, bad government, bad policy.

Once again, choice isn’t a political issue and the government shouldn’t be in the business of legislating private behavior or personal medical decisions.

In today’s climate within the party, I’m sure Rep. Sullivan believes in her bill. I don’t. If she really wants to empower me and other women — I mean, really — she will leave us alone to make difficult medical decisions — abortion included, as I said earlier — with or without counsel and for ourselves.

nancy smith sunshine state news columnistNancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News. She started her career at the Daily Mirror and The Observer in London before spending 28 years at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News as managing editor and associate editor. She was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in the mid-1990s. Reach her by email here, or follow her on twitter at @NancyLBSmith.

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13 Responses for “As Pro-Choice Republicans See It: Abortion Decisions Don’t Belong on a Legislative Agenda”

  1. Lancer says:

    It doesn’t.

    I don’t believe the government should point a gun at a woman’s head and make her have a baby, if she doesn’t want it.

    That said, I don’t think tax dollars should go to pay for abortions either and planned parenthood saying,”money received from the federal government doesn’t go to abortion” is a crock.Especially, when their overwhelming business IS abortions. In case you weren’t around during the recession, accounting numbers can be fraudulent.

    This topic is abused by both sides for political gain. Abortion is a horrible thing.

    I think, truthfully, education is the answer. The lady should be educated about the pros and cons and free to make up her mind. Religion is an individual matter, ultimately, and should be left at that.

  2. bob says:

    thou shall not kill not religion you fool it is god who created us in his image genesis 1-27
    why do you think we have the authority to kill a precious human being god has created
    it is not education it is called repent you are a a sinner and you cannot save yourselves
    and only jesus christ can save your soul then no babies would be aborted because
    you are a new creature in christ jesus. exodus 20-13 thou shall not kill there is no
    such thing of prochoice it is prodeath to killed precious human beings. wake up
    and get saved. jesusn christ is your only hope.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Abortion should not be an option for birth control. This is a difficult subject. I agree, tax dollars should not be used for planned parenthood. However, if they are not, the tax payers still pick up the tab when they financially support those on public assistance after they are born.

  4. Lancer says:


    Then those who have an abortion can answer to God, personally. Since everyone has an individual soul…it is up to the individual to save it. Or does your personal Jesus not preach free will?


    Very much correct, it is a very difficult and complicated social dilemma. There is a third option…adoption. It, by no means, solves all the problems, but helps.

    Personally, I favor separating the sexes in middle school. Both boys and girls are experiencing varying hormonal differences during that time. It would be great to explain to them EXACTLY what is happening and why in a non-embarrassing or threatening environment. You could also specifically cater to their scholastic, athletic and other talents prior to high school. Social interaction, at this age, is weird to begin with…

    • Mary Doe says:

      Try carrying a baby for 9 months that you don’t want!! Do you know how many children yearly are left waiting to be adopted? What happens if these poor mothers are forced to have these children? Abuse, neglect, reduced funding for Head Start, food stamps, WIC. I am appalled that these same legislatures that put so many restrictions on having an abortion are the FIRST ONES TO CUT FUNDING to help support these children. These same legislatures are the ones that say “get government out of our lives” live within their own contradictions. Too bad there is no legislation to force men to father their children. The burden rests with the woman. It’s her body let that be a decision that she makes with the God of her understanding.

  5. Sherry E says:

    Why is it that those who insist on TAKING WAY the rights of women to privately control their own bodies, with the assistance of their physician, plaster a label on those laws calling it “Empowering Women”. . . when just the opposite is the truth of the matter!!! ? Do our horrific legislators in Tallahassee really think all women are as imbecilic as they apparently are? Do they believe that the public will quietly go along with any thing they decide to pass as long as it is labeled as “EMPOWERING”?

    Unfortunately, they just may be on the right track when it comes to voters that are being played like pawns. Voters, who like zombies, just vote the party line and believe whatever is spoon fed to them by Rush and FOX are being massively manipulated. Switch to PBS “factual” news and spend some time researching the issues from “credentialed” sources, to take back your power to “intelligently” influence the direction of our society, state and country.

    The incredible HYPOCRISYS of the entire birth control issue are many, but the most ludicrous ones are:

    1. Those (mostly white men) that insist on “government control” of women’s bodies and birth control methods, are often the same people that campaign stridently against “government control/regulation”!!!

    2. Those that insist on “the right to life” of every fetus, no matter the circumstance of conception or risk to the mother, are often the same people who campaign stridently against any public support of any kind once the birth happens. Therefore, the “right to life” applies only to a fetus, but NOT to a child!!!!!

    It’s time for ALL WOMEN TO RISE UP and TRULY EMPOWER OURSELVES! It’s time for sanity in how our state and country is governed! Get out the vote for women at all levels of government!

  6. Lancer says:

    Easy for you to say, Sherry, your mother allowed you to live.

  7. djsii says:

    I’m in agreement that a woman should have the right to chose what happens to her body. I’m also in agreement that the choice along with any consequence is also her responsibility, and not her neighbors or fellow citizens. There seem to be an epidemic of “fatherless” children in this country that create a burden for the rest of us that had not planned on supporting someone’s children. Below are some statistics from Single Mothers Guide that may help the discussion.


    Single Mother Statistics

    Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, single motherhood is now becoming the new “norm”. This prevalence is due in part to the growing trend of children born outside marriage — a societal trend that was virtually unheard of decades ago. About 4 out 10 children were born to unwed mothers. Nearly two-thirds are born to mothers under the age of 30. Of all single-parent families in the U.S., single mothers make up the majority. According to U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families in 2014, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.4 million — are being raised without a father and nearly half (45%) live below the poverty line. For those living with father only, about 21% live in poverty. In contrast, among children living with both parents, only 13% are counted as poor.

    1. Statistics of Single Parent Families * (2014)
    83.0% Single Mother Families (9,929,000)
    17.0% Single Father Families (1,945,000) * with child(ren) under 18

    2. Demographics
    49% of single mothers have never married (4,875,000)
    51% are either divorced, separated or widowed (5,055,000)
    50% have one child, 30% have two

    About two thirds are White, one third Black, one quarter Hispanic. One third have a college degree, while one sixth have not completed high school.

    3. Employment
    33% of single mothers are working outside the home
    50% are employed full-time all year long
    23% are jobless the entire year
    22% received unemployment benefits.

    4. Income
    $26,000 Median Income for Single Mothers
    $84,000 Median Income for Married Couples

    Out of more than 10 million low-income working families with children:
    39% headed by single working mothers (4.1 million)
    65% African Americans
    36% Whites

    5. Poverty
    39.6% poor
    51.9% extreme poverty

    6. Hardship
    34.4% were food insecure
    13.0% used food pantries

    7. Welfare & Food Stamp Receipt
    45.8% received Food Stamps
    11.0% received TANF cash assistance

    8. Access to Health Care
    22.0% Had No Health Insurance

    9. Teen Mothers
    Black and Hispanic women have the highest teen pregnancy rates — 100 and 84 per 1,000 women aged 15–19, respectively; whites have the lowest rate with 38 pregnancies per 1,000. Black women are more likely to have children outside of marriage than other racial or ethnic groups. In that year, about 72% of births to black women were non-marital births. Children born to young unmarried mothers are most likely to grow up in a single-parent household. More than two thirds end up on welfare.

    15.0% born to teenagers under age 20
    37.0% born to women under ages 20 through 24

  8. A.S.F. says:

    That’s the point, Lancer. Sherry’s mother made her choice. It was HER choice to make. Not your’s or anybody else’s….and certainly not that of some stranger with a religious or other personal agenda who considers it their right to totally dictate what happens to a woman in crisis and then sanctimoniously walks away without looking back, puffed up on their egocentric sense of righteousness.

  9. A.S.F. says:

    …And then there are those who have been brought up a certain way whose mind-set is, “If I can’t do it, neither can anybody else.”

  10. Sherry E says:

    Yes, as an intelligent, educated, well traveled, patriot native Floridian who is also a self sufficient experienced professional and board member/congressional lobbyist (non-paid and non-bribing) who is open minded, loving, caring, spiritual, progressive, positive, peaceful and joyful. . . it is quite easy for me to be reasonable and logical, and to comment the way I do. Thank You Lancer!

  11. Sherry E says:

    Thanks so much ASF. . . couldn’t have said it better myself!

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