Tampa councilwoman calls for legal staff to look at local protections for reproductive rights

Hurtak asked for a report back from the legal team on Aug. 4.

click to enlarge Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak calls for Tampa's legal staff to look into an ordinance that would help protect a woman's right to choose. - City of Tampa
City of Tampa
Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak calls for Tampa's legal staff to look into an ordinance that would help protect a woman's right to choose.
At a July 14 Tampa City Council meeting, councilwoman Lynn Hurtak called for local measures that could help protect a person's right to choose what to do with their reproductive systems, without interference from the local government.

Hurtak tasked the city's legal team with looking into the implementation of the "Guarding the Right to Abortion Care for Everyone" or GRACE act. Some cities, including Austin and San Antonio, are bringing the act forward to essentially keep their cities from surveilling or reporting on any issue regarding women's reproductive healthcare.

The act, if implemented in Tampa, would also help prevent any city department, including the police, from any action impinging on the rights of residents to make reproductive health decisions for their own bodies.

"The last few weeks have been really difficult as a woman in America, with everything that's gone on, with the loss of [Roe v. Wade]," Hurtak said during the council meeting. "I personally have been working on abortion issues for over 25 years, to protect a woman's right to make her own reproductive decisions."

Hurtak made a motion to have the city's legal staff review Austin's resolution for themselves and to modify it to fit City of Tampa and State of Florida rules and regulations. She asked for a report back from the legal staff on Aug. 4. The motion was seconded by Luis Viera and supported unanimously by the rest of council.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently attempted to ban abortions at 15 weeks. A Leon County circuit judge shot that down in court on July 5, but the state appealed and the ban remains in place.

But with the repeal of Roe V. Wade, right wing leaders across the country have been successful implementing archaic abortion bans in several states, which experts say will harm women's health. Hurtak's ordinance would help strengthen local protections if even more restrictive bans were to happen in Florida.

After receiving full support from the men on city council, Hurtak remained composed even as she acknowledged that she was becoming teary-eyed on the council dais.

"I just want to say thank you for your overwhelming support," Hurtak told the rest of council. "While I do feel I know you, this was still a very scary thing for me to bring forward, and so I appreciate it. And I think I can speak to the women of the city of Tampa and they appreciate it just as much as I do."


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Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia has written for The Nation, Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal, the USA Today Network and various other news outlets. When he's not writing, Justin likes to make music, read, play basketball and spend time with loved ones. 

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