By Paulina Trujillo, 8/6/2022
With the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade state-level politics matter more than ever. With a lack of precedent from the Supreme Court, the well-being of Floridians is up in the air —and the states can either catch it or drop the ball. The upcoming primary and general elections will decide which they choose.
Reproductive rights encompass a sphere of issues heavily interrelated with consumer issues. This can include but is not limited to access to contraceptives and healthcare. These are at their core essential products, the same way water and food are a product in our economy. These are important products because accessibility causes massive ramifications to the lives of consumers.
The lack of access to contraceptives acts as a hindrance to the practices of safe sex. When contraceptives are readily available there is a "significant reduction in abortion rates, repeat abortions, and teenage birth rates". Our government has made it clear they want to reduce abortions, and access to contraceptives is simply the most effective way to do that. Exorbitant costs on contraceptives are causing clear adverse harm to consumers, and go against the stated goals of our current government. This is a consumer issue; it lines up with the law and with the current reigning values. Emergency contraceptives cost around 50 dollars. This cost can be enough to prevent someone from not purchasing the item. When the cost of a product impedes the health of our residents, we have a serious consumer issue on our hands.
In addition, the inaccessibility to abortion violates a person's access to healthcare. Access to medical care is a consumer protection issue. Medical issues such as ectopic pregnancy, septic uterus, and miscarriage are all treated through abortion. Abortion falls under healthcare, which is a product. Thus the Agricultural commissioner must ensure the quality of abortion in the state and make sure those who want it have access to it. Abortion is healthcare.
The people most impacted by these policy decisions are marginalized communities. Those from the upper class can travel to different states where they can get abortions. Oftentimes marginalized communities cannot travel because financial oppression has rendered the cost of travel too expensive for them to afford. 66% of the Florida House of Representatives members are white, and 70% are male. They are often wealthier than most of the average people in their districts. Their children can travel out of state when they need an abortion, they often do; while their constituents can not. Why are the upper-class lawmakers making decisions that do not affect them but rather disproportionately affect marginalized communities? Marginalized communities are without a doubt intentionally exploited communities.
We need to increase the accessibility of contraceptives and lower the cost as well. The Agricultural Commissioner's office has a responsibility to increase the accessibility of contraceptives as they are consumer products, whose inaccessibility causes direct harm to the public. Reproductive rights are a human rights issue and should not be up for debate.
The current landscape of reproductive rights is a clear and harsh violation of the rights entitled to the consumer. The Agriculture Commissioner can protect reproductive rights at the state level. We must protect these rights for all Floridians — especially those most marginalized. As Agricultural Commissioner J.R. Gaillot will protect reproductive rights with the powers granted to him by the state statutes, as is the duty of the Agricultural Commissioner. Reproductive rights are consumer rights.