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With All Seats at Stake, Florida Women Start Grassroots Movement

Florida voters have an opportunity to reshape the Legislature this election cycle. (Globetrotter/Wikimedia Commons)
Florida voters have an opportunity to reshape the Legislature this election cycle. (Globetrotter/Wikimedia Commons)
September 6, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With every seat in the state House and Senate up for grabs this November, two Florida ex-pats want to make sure voters make the most informed choices, especially when it comes to women's health issues.

Arianne Keegan and Abigail DeAtley grew up in Florida but have been living in New York for several years. Keegan said when Governor Rick Scott signed the highly controversial H-B 1411, defunding preventive services at the state's two Planned Parenthood clinics and placing more restrictions on doctors performing abortions, they found it hard to recognize their home state.

That's why with the election looming, the two founded the website Call Them Out Florida to let voters know exactly where the candidates stand on this issue.

"We have a chance to really make a change in the Legislature and shift the climate as long as people are paying attention to how these candidates vote and act with reproductive justice and access," she said.

H-B 1411 was slated to go into effect on July 1st, but has been challenged in court, and remains blocked as that process continues. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled similar restrictions in Texas were unconstitutional.

With such a divisive presidential race, co-founder Abigail DeAtley worries some voters might miss a real opportunity to effectuate change if they don't do their homework.

"It's down-ballot races that have decided health-care access since 2010. It is state by state, legislature by legislature, that they are winnowing rights, access, funding, sex education away," she said.

Given that there currently is one Supreme Court vacancy in play, DeAtley stressed that it remains crucially important for voters to look at where the presidential candidates and their running mates stand on the issue.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL