It’s not often that a Florida governor vetoes spending projects championed by legislative leaders from the same party.
But that’s exactly what happened Wednesday when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed from the budget $2 million that would have gone toward increasing access for low-income girls and women to long-acting reversible contraception.
Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, had tucked the money into the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
“I sprinkled it in,” Simpson told The News Service of Florida on Thursday, referring to what has become known in legislative parlance as a “sprinkle list.” Unveiled at the eleventh hour of budget negotiations, sprinkle lists often contain projects that haven’t been discussed publicly but have been agreed to by legislative leaders.
Simpson, who was adopted at age 6, focused during the legislative session on ways to improve opportunities for children living in out-of-home care or foster homes. He prioritized revamping a law about placement and transfer decisions for foster children, with a goal of providing permanent living situations.
For Simpson, offering low-income girls and young women access to affordable long-acting reversible contraception — known as LARCs, including IUDs — to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions was an idea in the same vein. He wanted to model the efforts after a program in Colorado that, a study showed, reduced unintended pregnancies.
But the proposal drew concerns, at least in part from abortion opponents. While Simpson pushed for the program behind the scenes, Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, was the point man on the issue.
“The program was a lightning rod,” Bean told the News Service, acknowledging that he was met with opposition from the state House and the governor’s office.
The Florida Catholic Conference also opposed the funding, worried that long-acting reversible contraception doesn’t prevent conception but instead has an “abortifacient effect” by impeding implantation of embryos in women’s uteruses. [The claim that LARCs are an abortifacient has been repeatedly debunked, even by the National Catholic Reporter.]
The Catholic Conference sent a letter May 12 to DeSantis requesting that he veto the funding. In addition to sending the letter, Florida Catholic Conference Associate Director for Social Concerns & Respect Life Ingrid Delgado said the conference sent an alert to members asking that they write to the governor to request a veto, and more than 2,000 letters were sent.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Long-acting hormonal contraception is 20 times better at reducing unwanted pregnancies than birth-control pills or patches, because LARCs require no attention after they are inserted. According to the Mayo Clinic, intrauterine devices, contraceptive implants and contraceptive injections are all considered LARCs.
But LARCs have to be inserted by health care professionals and can be expensive, putting them out of reach for low-income women. Simpson said he wanted to use the money in the budget to make LARCs more affordable for young women.
“It just gives these young women an opportunity to live a life that otherwise is not available to them,” Simpson said, adding, “I am a pro-life senator. This actually prevents a lot of abortions from happening.”
Bean, a top lieutenant of Simpson, didn’t criticize DeSantis for the veto. Instead, Bean put the blame on himself, saying, “I just didn’t do a good enough job of selling it.”
While Simspon didn’t publicly throw his weight behind the project during the session, he said he also never distanced himself from it. Simpson and Bean vowed to champion the issue during next year’s legislative session.
“It’s me who needs to do a little more selling,” Simpson said.
–Christine Sexton, News Service of Florida
Even more distressing news about the government’s forward-looking direction in controlling women’s reproductive systems.
When are these oh-so-privileged affluent guys (not women) going to get the message, ‘be compassionate, conservative, family valued, espouse smaller government, fewer taxes, and getting out of the voter’s bedroom’ – especially women in this case?
When they get Voted out then they GET IT
Worked hard says
Umm..Nobody is trying to “control womens reproductive systems”-what the article states he Veto’d was TAXPAYERS money going towrds PAYING for these contraceptive devices.It just may be that thats how you interpert everything-but in all reality,I have done my part and got married-we both landed successful careers.Saved up enough money and decided to have 2 children.Any different variable and we would have decided not to have kids yet.We didnt expect anybody to pay for our birth control-why on EARTH would i want to pay for somebody elses?The act of making a child is pretty common knowledge and we live in a country that allows us free choices-maybe just teach to make better choices instead of placing these burdens on taxpayers.And by the way,just because a man(or woman for that matter) have worked extremely hard to make something of themselves does not lable them as “oh-so-priviledged”….
Perhaps governmental healthcare should not co-pay for viagra or “vitamin C” since it must be God’s intention for old men to be unable to be sexual active. This veto is the most idiotic. Florida does NOT enforce child-support (Department of Revenue) – enough is enough!!
That has never been paid for by any Healthcare. But nice try.
To the pontificating arrogant “holier than thou” who love to put down those who are struggling. I marvel at those who quickly disparage others for having children they cannot afford, but who are unwilling to help them even afford birth control. Perhaps they should simply live celibate in your perfect bubble. Perhaps they should simply “get rid” of the children they already have, if they lose their jobs.
. Have you ever been turned down for a job merely because of the color of your skin?
. Have you ever been blocked from buying a home or qualifying for a mortgage merely because of the color of your skin?
. Has your children’s education been degraded because you could not afford to live in a school district with excellent schools?
. Can you afford a car and internet access?
I could go on and on about the massive difference between the daily opportunities and rights “automatically” afforded the “white” citizens of our country. . . and the demoralizing plight of people of color and the poor in our country, but my impression is that those that need to hear it most have already sadly tuned out.
Spare us the “white guilt”.
In this life we all get what we bargain for.
Florida Catholic Conference says
As the manufacturer’s own label indicates, there can be a post-fertilization and pre-implantation effect: http://labeling.bayerhealthcare.com/html/products/pi/Mirena_PI.pdf
When ovulation is not inhibited and the egg becomes fertilized, the new embryo cannot implant in the hormonal disordered endometrium (of the uterus). HLARCs can thus have an abortifacient effect.