Protesters upset over stricter regulations on abortion clinic, funding cuts

Group gathers outside Rep. Robert Cortes' office

MAITLAND, Fla – Protestors held signs outside Rep. Robert Cortes' office Thursday to speak out about a state law that puts stricter regulations on abortion clinics and cuts public funding for organizations that provide abortions.

The Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (F.I.R.E.) organized the press conference along with several women's rights groups.

They focused on Cortes' office because he is one of the state legislators who sponsored the HB 1411 bill, which passed in January.

Planned Parenthood supporters said the restrictions will stop some women from affordable preventative care.

"Its not okay for somebody to be able to say, you know what I don't like this aspect so I'm going to take everything away," said Stacey Sanchez, a community member speaking at the press conference.

Supporters of HB 1411 argue that taxpayers should not have to fund abortions. Anna Eskamani, the senior director of Public Affairs and Field Operations for Planned Parenthood, said most abortions provided by Planned Parenthood are not paid for with public money.

"There are some private abortion funds out there that people donate to, to help cover the cost, but the average patient is going to be looking toward their private insurance if they have it, or paying out of pocket," said Eskamani.

At the end of the press conference, the group gathered to hand deliver the message to Cortes, but their knocks on the door were not answered. HB 1411 goes into effect July 1.

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