Abortion Bill Filed in Legislature
An expansive measure to make most abortions illegal in Florida has been filed for the 2010 Legislative session, challenging federal protections in place for more than 40 years.
Both anti-abortion advocates and abortion rights supporters agree the 53-page proposal is an attempt to directly challenge the 40-year-old Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions in the United States in 1973.
“The Legislature finds that there have been 50 million abortions in the United States since the Roe decision,” the bill reads. “ The Legislature further finds that every life lost to abortion was sacred and of the highest value.”
Sponsored by Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka, HB 1097 would criminalize most abortions now allowed under state and federal law, increase penalties for physicians who perform such services and require pregnant women to receive more information on adoption. The bill was filed Wednesday, the same day that right to life groups made the trek to Tallahassee to meet lawmakers and rally support.
Except in cases where a woman’s life is considered in danger, doctors who perform abortions would face first degree felonies punishable by up to life in prison and civil fines. Van Zant’s measure makes clear its intent to invalidate Roe V. Wade and drastically reduce the number of abortions allowed.
“The Legislature finds that in the years following the Roe opinion, the standard of decency of the people of Florida has evolved such a degree that at this time they demand the right to exercise their political rights as guaranteed under the United States Constitution and under the Constitution of the state of Florida to enact legislation prohibiting unnecessary abortion in Florida,” the bill states.
Among the bill’s major provisions:
- Makes induced abortions illegal and punishable by up to life in prison
- Allows doctors and hospital to refuse to provide abortion services.
- Continues judicial bypass that allows minors to seek a judge’s order instead of telling a parent or guardian.
- Prohibits abortions resulting from pregnancies involving rape or incest.
- Requires a second physician to sign-off on the procedure when a doctor believes an abortion was medically necessary to save the life of the mother.
- Requires women to receive information on adoption as an abortion alternative
Stephanie Kunkel, lobbyist for Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said the coalition is aware of the bill. So far, no Senate companion bill has been filed, but Kunkel said the organization is preparing to oppose the measure.
“I think people are going to see the bill for what it is,” Kunkel told News Service of Florida. “This is nothing but an attempt to directly challenge Roe V. Wade.”
The question now is how much time and effort lawmakers want to spend on such a divisive issue during an election year unless there is significant support in both chambers. House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, told the News Service on Thursday he was aware of the bill and would allow it to be heard if Van Zant can rally enough support.
“He is a very passionate guy and he believes that needs to have some public discussion,” Cretul said of Van Zant. "I told him, 'Work your bill, and we'll see what happens.'"
111 Responses »
- Aboring Logic by Kicking Ass Ann Arbor
- Floridians try again
- Florida Bill Would Make Abortion Punishable By Life In Prison | Scanner