Local women activists walked into the Apopka Dental Care asking for birth control and Pap smears in response to Florida's House Bill 1411
, which puts increased restrictions on abortion clinics.
Among other things, HB 1411 blocks Planned Parenthood receiving Medicaid reimbursements for preventative services like cancer screenings, STD tests and contraception. During the debate over the bill earlier this year, the bill's supporters argued
women could go to other places for reproductive health care, and they included a list of 636 federally qualified health center sites and rural health clinics. But included in that list were public schools with nurses, optometrists, dentists, podiatrists and other places where you'd be hard pressed to get a gynecological exam.
Women with the Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (FIRE) walked into the Apopka Dental Care office Tuesday and watched as Nada Abou-Senna asked the receptionist for an appointment to come and get birth control.
"My elected representative told me that I could come here for reproductive health services," Abou-Senna tells the receptionist in a video when the woman gives Abou-Senna a strange look. "That's what I was told."
LaQuinta Alexander, the reproductive justice organizer for FIRE, followed Abou-Senna, asking the receptionist for reproductive care, like Pap smears. Both were told the clinic doesn't offer those services.
"If my local Planned Parenthood gets shut down, and I need a pap smear or birth control prescription, our healthcare hypocrites have found it in their best interest to send me to a dentist instead." Alexander says in a statement. "We are still fighting to protect abortion access and we must depend on the courts to overturn HB 1411 tomorrow to guarantee that all women can exercise their Constitutional right to abortion access in Florida."
Other women activists across Florida have been visiting dental offices on the list of federally qualified health clinics to asking for these services. WLRN
reports that about a dozen Miami women visited a dental clinic at the Jessie Trice Community Health Center last week to ask for reproductive health care.
"I came to see the dentist," says Yolanda Davis, according to WLRN. "I have a bad yeast infection."
HB 1411 is currently under scrutiny after the U.S. Supreme Court
found a similar law in Texas was unconstitutional.