Salon: Florida's Amendment 6 Could Affect Public Employees

Oct 25, 2012

Salon profiled Florida's Amendment 6,  one of the most controversial ballot measures facing approval from Florida voters  Nov. 6.

The ballot item is aimed at removing a constitutional right to privacy currently in Florida's Constitution, but it also might cut abortion coverage in some cases for the state's public employees, Salon reports.

The amendment also has language that would prohibit the use of taxpayer money for abortions in the state.

However, there is already a federal law that prohibits any government from using taxpayer money for abortions. It's called the Hyde Amendment.

Salon reports that although it may seem like Florida's amendment is just a reiteration of federal law,  it's not.

According to Salon,

Opponents point out that even if the state doesn’t pay for abortions, public employees whose insurance coverage of abortion is currently protected by the constitution would be at risk, with a health exception that doesn’t cover plenty of sympathetic cases. The life endangerment exception is a source of contention; No on 6 spokesman Damien Filer uses the hypothetical of a pregnant public schoolteacher with cancer, who won’t die tomorrow but whose life would be threatened by continuing the pregnancy.  “People read ‘life’ and they hear ‘health,’” says Filer. 

The Hyde Amendment currently has exceptions for rape, incest, to save the life of the mother and to protect a woman's health. However, Florida's amendment contains exceptions only for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

Proponents of the amendment say passing Amendment 6 would help the state pass a law that requires a parent to give consent if their minor child tries to obtain an abortion. In the past, the state's privacy provisions have stood in the way of any such law.

You can listen to WLRN's explanation of Amendment 6 here.