WUFT News

Fight over Amendment 6 traces roots 20 years back

By on October 30th, 2012

By Ashley Lopez – WLRN

One of America’s most contested issues has a place on the ballot in Florida on Election Day.

Amendment 6 seeks to prohibit public funding for abortions in Florida, and some women’s rights activists argue the amendment jeopardizes a state constitution-guaranteed right to privacy.

Doris Rosen of Pasco County became involved in the abortion debate 20 years ago when then-Gov. Bob Martinez asked the state legislature to draft laws restricting access to abortion.

“That was the first march that I ever participated in,” Rosen said. “We had buses. We marched on Tallahassee. I remember walking down Apalachee Parkway to the Capitol.”

In 1989, the state Supreme Court cited privacy provisions in the Florida Constitution to strike down a law requiring minors to get parental consent before having abortions. The provisions had been added to the constitution about 10 years before.

The court decision happened shortly before Martinez’s anti-abortion legislative sessions were due to meet.

“That was my first march, and there were over 10,000 women and men marching to leave that right to privacy alone in the Florida Constitution — and it remained,” Rosen said.

Since that time, anti-abortion activists have taken issue with Florida’s right to privacy, arguing that the right goes beyond the U.S. Constitution.

“We are very concerned about the rights of parents and the parents’ rights to be involved a children’s decision to have an abortion was taken away,” said Sheila Hopkins, spokeswoman for the Florida Catholic Conference in Tallahassee.

She said the group is concerned that parents must give children permission to go on field trips and take medications but have no control over children having abortions.

“So, we are trying to right a wrong as we see it,” said Hopkins, who advocates for Amendment 6, hoping it will open doors for more anti-abortion legislation.

Other supporters of the amendment include Florida Right to Life and the Archdioceses of Miami and St. Petersburg.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and Planned Parenthood are campaigning against the amendment.

Rosen said she is disappointed that she’s still fighting the same battle over privacy rights two decades later.

She’s no longer fighting only for her daughter but for her granddaughter, she said.

Katherine Hahn wrote this story online.


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