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What's in store for Florida's 2013 legislative session

Legislators prepare to duke it out over more of the same: abortion, workers' rights, education, voting issues and campaign finance reform

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: , License: N/A

Another red flag comes in the form of the divisive Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, or "Termination of Pregnancy Based on Sex or Race of the Unborn Child," also filed by Van Zant. A similar bill was filed, and killed, in last year's legislative session, but the subject matter has a national hook. In May 2012, a similar initiative was laughed out of the U.S. Congress, but was used by Republicans as a means of forcing Democrats to vote in favor of something that would rile up Republicans in time for congressional elections, the New York Times reported.

"After 16 years of providing health care and education here in Orlando, we know that particularly here in this community, African-Americans face numerous obstacles when it comes to obtaining affordable health care. It's really disappointing to see these issues used as a political wedge, because frankly, unintended pregnancy and abortion are not the only important reproductive health outcomes with these disparities," Tosh says. "African-Americans, particularly here in Florida, experience higher rates of HIV/AIDS, higher rates of reproductive cancers, higher rates of all sexually transmitted infections than other groups of Americans. And what we're looking at are barriers to care that need our attention, and that frankly need the attention of the Legislature."

Tosh says that though other bills have been filed in the interest of assisting women with pregnancy – specifically in terms of employment nondiscrimination – they're likely to get less attention than "politically motivated nonsense" like the standard round of anti-abortion volleys.

"There are ways, certainly, to help women get the access to care, the legal protections they need to have healthy pregnancies and to have healthy families," she says. "But that's not the conversations we're having."

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