Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed $2 million program last week intended to help low-income girls and young women have more access to long-acting reversible contraception or LARCs, and was backed by Senate President Wilton Simpson (R).
According to The News Service of Florida, the $2 million was “sprinkled” into the budget by Simpson, part of what is known as a “sprinkle list” of projects that were not publicly discussed, but agreed upon by legislative leaders.
During the most recent Legislative session, Simpson focused on issues that would improve opportunities for children in foster homes or out-of-home care by prioritizing the revamp of a law about “placement and transfer decisions for foster children, with a goal of providing permanent living situations;” something that is the framework for Simpson’s attempt to help low-income girls and young women with access to LARCs.
Along with Simpson, Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairman, Aaron Bean, was the lead man on the issue while Simpson was “behind the scenes” contributing to the proposed program. Bean told The News Service that the program was “a lightning rod,” referring to the opposition he faced from the Governor’s office and the state House.
LARCs include intrauterine devices, contraceptive implants, and contraceptive injections. Because LARCs are types of birth control that are medically inserted, meant to last longer, and do not require the responsibility of remembering to take a pill or patch, they are 20 times better at reducing unwanted pregnancies.
Simpson told The News Service that his proposal is meant to “give these young women an opportunity to live a life that otherwise is not available to them” where he then described himself as a “pro-life Senator” and that “this actually prevents a lot of abortions from happening.”
While Simpson and Bean believed in the idea that LARCs would cause fewer abortions, the Florida Catholic Conference also opposed the program by saying that it actually causes more abortions because it unnaturally blocks the flow of embryos in a female’s uterus. Since May 12th, the Catholic Conference and its members wrote over 2,000 letters to Governor DeSantis requesting a veto of the proposed funding.
Although the program was vetoed this year, Simpson and Bean look to bring forth the same program in next year’s Legislative session.
– – –