Reproductive Freedom

June 14, 2024

Florida members are fighting for the freedom to make their own personal health care decisions.

Reproductive Freedom_1199 Mag.jpgMembers across every 1199 region are working hard to restore and protect women’s reproductive rights and privacy in Florida after an extremely restrictive law took effect in the sunshine state on May 1.

Florida lawmakers have now made it a felony to perform or actively participate in an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Because the beginning of pregnancy is counted from a woman’s last period, that usually leaves only two weeks after a missed period for a person to even recognize they are pregnant. Since the law also requires two inperson visits to a clinic, 24 hours

apart, before a termination can be performed, the new restrictions make it almost impossible to end a pregnancy in Florida.

Since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion in 2022, the states which surround Florida have also either eliminated or severely restricted reproductive rights. In practice, this means only those who have the funds to travel roughly 1,000 miles still have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare.

That is why 1199ers have joined a statewide campaign to restore reproductive freedom.

Wearing purple “Standing Up For Reproductive Freedom” shirts, more than 150 members and staff from across the state gathered at Orlando’s Lake Eola on April 13, for the Amendment 4 campaign kickoff rally organized by Floridians Protecting Freedom.

The initiative on the November 2024 ballot is an amendment to the State of Florida Constitution and would reverse the six-week abortion ban which puts women’s health at risk and interferes with private medical decisions.

Speakers at the rally described heartbreaking real-life medical and personal tragedies they experienced without access to necessary reproductive care, and desperately urged the large crowd to do all they can to make sure that Amendment 4 passes.

“As a U.S. Marine I served overseas and fought for our freedoms,” said Mark DeFord, now still serving the public as a Registered Nurse (RN) and 1199SEIU member. “It’s a travesty that Florida politicians are trying to take away important rights from our loved ones. Let’s all fight together—vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 4.”

Jacqelyn Wheeler, an 1199 Patient Safety Attendant, added, “I’m a mother, grandmother and a healthcare worker. I’m voting ‘yes’ on Amendment 4 because politicians shouldn’t be getting involved in personal decisions between me and my doctor.”

Scan the QR code (left) to support the “Yes on 4” campaign to ensure that the people of Florida have the freedom to make their own personal health care decisions—including abortion— without interference from politicians.