Council withdraws bill to reimburse city employees traveling for ‘treatment related to reproductive rights’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday evening voting unanimously to withdraw legislation that was aimed at creating a reimbursement option for city employees who travel for “medical treatments related to reproductive rights.”

The bill was introduced in May by Councilman Reggie Gaffney. It came on the heels of a leaked initial majority opinion from the Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade.

“I would be a no if we could vote this out, but I will be a yes for withdrawal,” said Councilman Rory Diamond during Tuesday’s meeting. “But just so the record is 100% absolutely clear, I am a strong, enduring and forever ‘no’ for ever using any taxpayer money or anything related to abortion.”

Councilman Al Ferraro also spoke during emergency motion, which was immediately followed by the 19-0 vote.

“My belief is the same as what Mr. Diamond just said, I would vote this down. And I’d rather have the bill here out tonight so that we could put our votes on the record, but I will vote to withdraw this as well if that’s the will of the Council — but I do not support abortions,” Ferraro said.

If passed, the bill would have allowed up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for a city employee for any medical treatments related to reproductive rights if that treatment is not available within 100 miles of the employee’s home and virtual care is not possible. Those treatments could include medication, procedures or operations, including terminating a pregnancy, using contraceptives, family planning or gaining access to reproductive health services, according to the bill.