The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLUFL) today announced that Sen. Jack Latvala (R-St. Petersburg) received the organization? most recent ?efender of Freedom?award for the week which ended today, April 8, 2011.
Sen. Latvala earned the award in part for his comments and vote against Senate Bill 1744 in the Senate Healthcare Regulation Committee on Monday, April 4, 2011. The bill would require doctors to invade personal privacy by performing an ultrasound and describing the images to a woman seeking medical services. The bill needlessly inserts a government mandate in a setting that should be between a patient and her doctor alone.
? woman deserves to be able to trust that her doctor is telling her what she needs to hear, not just what a politician has decided she ought to be told,?said Danielle Prendergast, ACLUFL Director of Public Policy. ?he government has no place in that conversation ?especially forcing speech into a conversation when that information may have no medical relevance and may be absolutely unwanted.?
In opposing the bill, Latvala said, ? just basically believe in the philosophy that government needs to stay out of decisions like this.” Senator Latvala also said his opposition was similar to previous votes to set aside the national healthcare law. ?f it’s good enough for us to vote to keep the federal government out of our health care, then we ought to stay out of health care as well,” he said.
“It? sad that it takes courage in this environment to be for privacy and limited government,?Prendergast said. ?ut Senator Latvala has been consistent and deserves the thanks of all Floridians for valuing privacy and fighting to limit the reach of government.?
Senate Bill 1744 passed the Healthcare Regulation committee on 7-5 vote with Senators Bennett, Jones, Ring and Sobel joining Latvala in opposition. Bennett is a previous ?efender of Freedom?award winner for opposing a proposed Constitutional Amendment which would directly limit Florida? right to privacy.
The Defender of Freedom award is be presented weekly during the Florida Legislative Session to the lawmaker or other leader who displays public courage and defends constitutional freedoms in public policy. Previous winners were Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R-Miami), Senator Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton), Rep. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Rep. Scott Randolph (D-Orlando).