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Orlando women ask dental clinic for birth control in protest of HB 1411

Image: Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (FIRE), orlandoweekly.com
Image: Florida Institute for Reform and Empowerment (FIRE), orlandoweekly.com

Nada Abou-Senna walked into the Apopka Dental Care clinic Tuesday not for a teeth whitening session or to fill in a cavity, but for birth control.

She told the bewildered receptionist, "My elected representative told me that I could come here for reproductive health services."

Abou-Senna and other Florida women are walking into dental care offices across the state asking for contraceptives, Pap smears and yeast infection treatments in response to Florida House Bill 1411, which puts increased restrictions on abortion clinics and is currently under scrutiny after the U.S. Supreme Court found a similar law in Texas was unconstitutional. State and federal dollars are already prohibited from going to abortion providers, but HB 1411 blocks Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid reimbursements for preventative services like cancer screenings, STD tests and birth control.

During the debate over the bill earlier this year, HB 1411's supporters argued women could go to other places for reproductive health care. Included in that list were public schools with nurses, optometrists, dentists, like Apopka Dental Care, podiatrists and other places where you'd be hard pressed to get a gynecological exam.

HB 1411's supporters will achieve what they always wanted if the law goes into effect: stopping their taxpayer dollars from funding organizations they find abhorrent, regardless if that process includes throwing needy women who get basic reproductive care from Planned Parenthood under the bus.