© 2024 90.7 WMFE. All Rights Reserved.
Public Media News for Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee.

A guaranteed right to contraception bill is a long-shot in Florida

Rep. Gallop Franklin, D-Tallahassee, offers comments during a Jan. 2023 house hearing (file photo)
Florida House of Representatives
Rep. Gallop Franklin, D-Tallahassee, offers comments during a Jan. 2023 house hearing (file photo)

Two Florida Democrats are launching a long-shot effort to convince the Republican-led legislature to put into state law a guaranteed right to access contraception. The move comes amid increasing restrictions on abortions in Republican-led states.

Rep. Gallop Franklin, D-Tallahassee, says current contraception rights are vague and that there is no clear definition of a right to contraception in state laws.

“Guaranteeing the right to contraception is a people issue it's not a partisan one,” he said at a recent press conference at the capitol to draw attention to his proposal, which has yet to get a committee hearing.

Franklin’s bill would classify contraception as a fundamental right, and it comes, says co-sponsor Sen. Rosalind Osgood, D-Broward, at a time when abortion access–and by extension contraceptive rights–are being attacked.

“Having access to contraceptives, and education helps better prepare women and men for childbirth. We have children, [and] they don’t come with a book or a guideline. But this bill allows us to understand the totality of being a parent,” said Osgood.

While the proposal creates an explicit right to access contraceptives that have been approved by the federal government, it also states businesses that provide health insurance still don’t have to cover those medications. In other words, just because you use them, doesn’t mean your insurance has to pay for them.

That caveat is the result of a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision that found religious and private companies that provide health insurance to their employees don’t have to abide by the Affordable care Act’s contraception mandate if it clashes with their religious beliefs. The case was Burrell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.

The move to secure a contraceptive right in Florida is also coming as lawmakers in other states, like Tennessee and Arkansas, have tried and failed to include contraception in abortion restriction laws. Franklin says the right to contraception is supported by not just Democrats, but Republicans and independents as well.

“Most people believe that access to contraceptives is key and essential,” he told WFSU in a follow-up interview.

That take is backed up by numerous polls taken since 2022 that show overwhelming support for contraceptive coverage.

Richard Brown is a senior journalism student at Florida A&M University. He specializes in politics and policy.

Richard has written extensively for his school paper, The Famuan, and represents FAMU as one of six students selected for Open Campus’ HBCU Student Journalism network. Richard has also contributed to Tallahassee magazine and Onyx magazine.