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Support Families by Voting Yes on Amendment 4

Rev. Kathy Schmitz | Published on 6/30/2024

Orlando Sentinel, June 2, 2024

“We have to preserve our democracy daily and actively if we are to preserve our family life.” These words were true when spoken 85 years ago and they are true today. They were spoken in May 1939 at the organizing meeting of what was to become the League of Women Voters of Orange County.

While our membership today includes all genders, issues affecting women and families continue to be at the forefront of our advocacy.

In this election year, these critical issues include government interference in health care. The six-week abortion ban that went into effect earlier this month is already disrupting the lives of families across the state. It denies those who are pregnant the power to make the difficult and often heartbreaking decisions they face. Importantly, the barriers created by this interference disproportionally impact those who have been historically marginalized, including those with limited financial resources and people of color.

No lawmaker can foresee all the concerns that impact the decision to continue or terminate a pregnancy. Nor should they try. Instead, the Legislature should listen to the people. A clear majority of Floridians believe that we all should be able to make our own personal health care decisions, free from the interference of politicians.

At six weeks, many are not even aware that they are pregnant. Awareness of health concerns and complications can come much later. For couples eager to have a child, the heartbreak that comes from learning of a fatal health issue is compounded when incompetent and insensitive regulations force them to jump through unnecessary hoops to receive the care they need.

Abortion care is health care, and intrusive government regulations have no place in the exam room or the living room. It is time to limit government interference with abortion. We need to prevent legislators from passing laws that prohibit, delay, or restrict abortion access.

Fortunately, Florida Amendment 4, on our November ballot, will ensure that politics stay out of our personal health care decisions. History, research, and experience tell us that societies thrive when women are educated and empowered to make decisions about their own lives. Amendment 4 will allow pregnant people, whatever their circumstances, to decide what is best for their care and their families.

Health care, and limiting government interference in our access to it, is not a partisan issue. People across the political spectrum want politicians to stay out of our personal decisions and trust families.

Health care decisions, including abortion, are best made in consultation with loved ones, medical teams, and trusted advisors. There is no place for government interference in these often-complex situations. Only those directly involved can navigate the varied issues that impact such a decision, such as maternal health, pregnancy viability, family situation, and personal circumstances.

Women voted in Orlando for the first time 105 years ago in May of 1919, even before the passage of the 19th Amendment. Our voices mattered then. Our voices matter now. With our votes, we can “preserve our democracy daily and actively” and together “preserve our family life.” The League of Women Voters’ long history of protecting our democracy is as important today as it was at our founding 85 years ago.

For all these reasons, the League of Women Voters of Orange County supports Amendment 4 for women’s health care and urges you to vote yes Nov. 5.

Rev. Kathy Schmitz is president of the League of Women Voters of Orange County. She is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and served as Senior Pastor of First Unitarian Church of Orlando from 2010-2019.


Fact sheet: League of Women Voters, Orange County Florida, June 2024
Proposed Florida Amendment 4 will strengthen family health care

  • Proposed Amendment 4, supporting the “Right to Abortion,” is on Florida’s ballot November 5.
  • The League of Women Voters of Orange County supports Amendment 4 because it limits politics in our personal health care decisions.
  • It would allow pregnant people to make their own decisions, in consultation with their doctors, about health care for them and their families.
  • There is no place for government interference in these often-complex situations.
  • The barriers created by such government interference disproportionally impact historically marginalized people.
  • The Orange County League is 85 years young this May. Defending democracy is as important today as it was in May of 1939,
    when our founders said, “We have to preserve our democracy daily and actively if we are to preserve our family life.”
  • History, research, and experience tell us that societies thrive when women are educated and empowered to make decisions about their own lives.
  • The League of Women Voters of Orange County, Florida, supports Amendment 4 for women’s health care. It will strengthen independent choice, which is so important for our families and the flourishing of society.
  • Full text: Limiting government interference with abortion.— Except as provided in Article X, Section 22, no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.
    LWVOC.org / June 2, 2024