Dear Florida Legislature,
What a crazy few weeks it's been in Tallahassee.
abortion-rights forces are snapping at your heels over what they see as the inordinate attention devoted to the womb.
They paint it as part of a regressive Republican red tide that washed in with November's Democratic shellacking. In its wake stood scores of conservatives who have painted a bull's-eye on abortion rights.
As evidence, a recent report from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health research group, noted that from the start of 2011 through March 31, lawmakers had trotted out 916 abortion-related bills in 49 state legislatures convened for their regular session. (Louisiana's Legislature gathers in late April). During that span, seven states had ratified 15 fresh abortion-related laws.
In Guttmacher's eyes, the "proposals introduced this year are more hostile to abortion rights than in the past."
Clearly, hostility is in the eye of the beholder.
Consider that, from 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions were performed in the United States. Just in 2008, 1.21 million lives in the U.S. — including 94,360 in Florida — were legally ended.
All told, abortion adds a tragic ending to 22 percent of all American pregnancies (excluding miscarriages).
Talk about hostile.
Yes, abortion is the law of the land. But as a majority of Americans in an August CBS News Poll agreed, its practice should be rare.
That's why I'm writing.
I wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to state legislators for having the gumption to act to protect the most vulnerable and voiceless among us — the unborn child.
In this session, you've introduced at least 10 bills angling to regulate and restrict abortions — some we've seen before.
With Florida teens accounting for 5,000 abortions last year, according to Planned Parenthood of Florida, it's good that you're taking another run at beefing up parental-notification requirements. Parents should be notified in writing, as well as by phone, when a daughter wants an abortion.
I can only hope that Florida follows in Kansas' footsteps and slams the door on late-term abortions. As you know, Kansas became the second state to ban abortions after an unborn child is viable — except in cases where the mother's life is threatened — with its Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The measure correctly contends that "by 20 weeks after fertilization, the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human."
Abortion-rights advocates assail such measures as limiting a woman's personal choices.
What about the 32 percent of sexually active women Guttmacher says choose to have unprotected sex because of concerns about contraception, only to turn to elective abortions as Plan B?