Nobody likes to be told what to do — especially when it's a matter of health.
Like most people, when I face a health-care decision, I want to be able to consult the people I trust for advice. I talk to my doctor and my family. I might consult my minister or spiritual adviser.
But I'll tell you who I never call: a politician.
Yet, that's exactly who will be involved in women's health-care decisions unless we defeat Amendment 6 — a dangerous amendment on the Nov. 6 general election ballot that could allow politicians to interfere with a woman's health-care decisions — without an exception to protect women's health.
That means that if it passes, the government would be able to intrude on the most personal medical decisions between a woman, her family and her doctor. For instance, a pregnant woman facing a threat to her health could find that her insurance is banned from covering the medical care she needs to end a pregnancy to protect her health — even if she is facing a serious illness like cancer. Even if her doctor advises her that terminating the pregnancy is the best course of treatment, she could be denied coverage.
Sometimes things go tragically wrong with a pregnancy. Imagine a woman discovers that she is facing a pregnancy with a severe fetal abnormality or one that would permanently affect her fertility. Under Amendment 6, she and her family may have to deal with the added stress of figuring out how to afford the medical care she needs — even though she has health insurance.
Medically necessary abortions can cost upwards of several thousand dollars. Forcing a woman and her family to pay for these procedures out of pocket or making her wait, against her will, until the pregnancy becomes life-threatening is cruel and unnecessary — especially when health-insurance plans previously could have covered the procedure.
At a time when working families struggle to get the health care they need to stay healthy, Tallahassee politicians should turn their attention to expanding health coverage instead of trying to take away coverage from women who currently have it.
As the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Collier County, I know how important it is to remove obstacles to health care. And I'm not alone. A broad coalition stands in opposition to this Amendment 6, including religious leaders such as Catholics for Choice, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, as well as medical and health-care professionals, doctors and other caregivers.
We oppose Amendment 6 because it puts politics and politicians where they don't belong — in the doctor's office and in the middle of personal decisions about a woman's health. Women should be trusted and respected to protect their own health and medical professionals should be trusted and respected to provide the best care for their patients. We all deserve access to insurance plans that cover care we can count on and physicians we can trust, not coverage and medical care chosen for us by politicians.
I encourage Floridians to visit www. VoteNoOn6.com to get the facts and to vote "no" on 6.