With barefaced demagoguery, Rick Scott once again shows his inner Pinocchio.
The latest from Bill Day highlights the Florida governor — here called “Scottocchio” — and his changing rules on abortions, part of the shameless effort to demonize Planned Parenthood.
Last week, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration ordered three of the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics to stop second-trimester abortions. It was after an investigation found they lacked proper licensing to perform the procedure.
Scott’s latest condemnation stemmed from an undercover video by an anti-abortion group that allegedly showed Planned Parenthood officials trying to sell aborted fetal tissue for research.
The video prompted Florida to join several states in launching investigations against Planned Parenthood, as well as Republicans in Congress calling to end all federal funding for the organization.
According to Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, Scott’s claim against the three women’s health centers – one in St. Petersburg — is completely false.
In a statement, she said clinics use a strict definition of the first trimester — up to 13 weeks and six days from a woman’s last menstrual cycle. Scott followed a different set of guidelines – ones apparently familiar only to Scott.
Goodhue noted the AHCA is “flip-flopping on their own rules and definitions of gestational periods.”
The governor ordered the AHCA to inspect all 16 of Florida’s Planned Parenthood clinics; under his altered rules, three clinics were accused of performing second-trimester abortions beyond their licensing authority. Another clinic in Pembroke Pines was cited for not following proper techniques for labeling and dating of fetal remains set for disposal.
No clinics in the state were selling fetal tissue.
The investigation did have a tangible effect, however. It created the political optics to rile up Florida’s conservative voters.
But as for learning the truth, Scott’s manipulation of a hot-button issue would make Pinocchio proud.