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Ban on public funding for abortion OK'ed

A proposed constitutional amendment that would prohibit using public money for health insurance policies that include coverage of abortion gathered steam in a Florida Senate Judiciary committee Monday.

The measure, sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, was amended to provide exceptions in cases of rape or incest. The proposal is one of many making their way through the Legislature this session. It moved forward in the committee on a 4-2 vote, with two Democrats, Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa and Sen. Oscar Braynon II of Miami Gardens voting no.

"What will this solve?" Braynon asked after Helen Strain of Planned Parenthood said federal law already prohibited public funding for most abortions. She also said zero abortions in Florida were paid for with taxpayer dollars from 2001 to 2006.

The important thing is to put the issue before voters, Flores said: "To ask Floridians a simple question: Do we want to have public funding of abortions in our state? We want to give Floridians a say."