Fla., Mont. Are 'Exceptions' to 'Paucity' of Women's Health Referendums This Year, Salon Piece States

October 17, 2012 — No "personhood" measures are on state ballots this year, but initiatives in Florida and Montana provide "exceptions to the relative paucity" of reproductive health-related referendums in this election, Irin Carmon writes in Salon.

Montana residents will vote on a parental notification measure (LR 120) that was previously vetoed by the state's Democratic governor (Carmon, Salon, 10/16).

In Florida, voters will decide on a measure (Amendment 6) that would amend privacy protections in the state constitution and ban public funding for most abortion care or coverage (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/9).

The Florida amendment "is more complicated than your average ballot measure, as shown by the fact that the amendment's supporters ... claim that this is about passing a parental-consent law and banning public funding of abortion, whereas opponents are focusing on health exceptions for public employees with life-threatening pregnancies," Carmon writes.

She notes that Florida's Medicaid program does not provide abortion coverage, except in cases required by federal law, but public employees may have abortion coverage in their plans. At the same time, courts have struck down previous attempts at parental involvement laws in Florida because the state constitution has broader and more explicit privacy protection than the U.S. Constitution, leading proponents of the measure to try to limit the Florida Constitution's privacy protections.