Third week of session brings third round of anti-GOP protestsby John Kennedy | March 17th, 2014
The opening of the third week of the legislative session brought its third wave of protests Monday, this time featuring organizations attacking what speakers call a continuing attack on women’s health issues by the state’s Republican leaders.
Led by Planned Parenthood and Catholics for Choice, about 50 demonstrators crowded the Capitol Rotunda to condemn the Legislature’s failure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and also for advancing a half-dozen bills which they say undermine abortion rights in Florida.
The abortion bills, which include an outright ban and other measures aimed at raising the standard for fetal viability, have been around for a few years in Florida. Republican leaders have not made the legislation a priority, and it seems unlikely they will become a flashpoint this session.
But the bills remain a rallying point for Democrats looking to ignite voters this fall.
Monday’s rally followed similar events by organized by the NAACP of Florida and other groups the first two weeks of the session, which attacked Republican policies in general and specifically called for repeal of the state’s stand your ground self-defense law.
“We keep seeing the same bills filed and we keep seeing the same bills move,” said Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando, among those speaking at Monday’s rally. “The public outside this building is not aware of where Republicans stand when it comes to women’s health care. I think they need a wake-up call.
“We have one more election this year where people might finally get that wake-up call,” he added.