Updated: Jul 11, 2022
The Jacksonville City Council is poised to consider this emergency legislation:
Beginning on July 1, 2022, each City employee shall be entitled to up to $4,000 in travel expenses for needed medical care related to reproductive rights if that medical treatment is not available within 100 miles of the employee’s home.
What you can do:
Reach out to City Council members before they meet on May 24 (Tuesday) and voice your strong support for Bill 2022-401. Remind them that city employees- along with all people – deserve access to comprehensive reproductive health services! See footnote 2
Attend a press conference with the bill’s sponsor and other supporters on Monday, May 23, at 11:00 am at City Hall, 117 W Duval Street, to show support and call attention to this issue.
While the bill might not pass given the current make up of the City Council, it offers an important opportunity to shine a light on abortion bans and their consequences. Florida's 15 week abortion ban was pushed by Governor Ron DeSantis and steam-rolled through the Legislature despite Floridian's opposition to the ban. It is critical that elected officials in Northeast Florida be reminded that reproductive rights and access to abortion is a priority issue for voters!
Many employers cover travel expenses for workers in states with laws restricting abortion access. More information about which companies are doing this can be found in this article: https://www.jacksonville.com/story/news/local/2022/05/20/jacksonville-city-council-vote-covering-travel-costs-abortions/9861261002/
The proposed bill, which amends the city’s employee benefit policy, is an effort to provide access to care not available in the state as a result of the 15 week abortion ban passed this year by state legislators. The first vote on the bill might come Tuesday May 24, 2022. If that passes, then the final vote might be on June 14.
It's a horrible shame Florida approved a ban on abortions for a woman who has been pregnant for 13 weeks (footnote 1) or longer. According to this article: The only exceptions are if the mother is at risk of death, "irreversible physical impairment" or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.
Excerpt from this article:
Medical providers who treat pregnancy-related issues in states that have outlawed abortions after a certain number of weeks exist in a constant state of fear of performing any procedure that might possibly be classified as an abortion—even while the procedures remain legal
Please use your voice to amplify the need to protect reproductive rights and access to care!
Footnote 1: Gestational age is the common term used during pregnancy to describe how far along the pregnancy is. It is measured from the first day of the woman's last menstrual cycle to the current date. So the woman has been pregnant for approximately 13 weeks when the gestational age is 15 weeks. They call it a 15 week abortion ban but, to be clear, the woman has only been pregnant for approximately 13 weeks.
Democracy works best when the electorate is paying attention to what their elected officials are doing.
Let them hear from you!
Here are some helpful hints as to how to contact your representatives:
Lists elected officials for Duval County: https://www.duvalelections.com/Elected-Officials
At this link you can find YOUR elected representatives: https://www.duvalelections.com/Voter-Information/My-Elected-Officials After reaching the website type in your address, then it will offer a suggested match. Press enter and it will give you a list of all YOUR elected officials.