Florida Legislators Battle It Out on Whether Abortion Should Be Restricted or Expanded

The first of the Florida state legislative session saw eight bills regarding the restriction and expansion of abortion rights.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Florida legislators are pushing to both expand and restrict abortion rights in the Sunshine State, according to The Center Square.
  • In total, eight bills have been presented to the Florida legislative body, with Republicans pushing for laws like what exists in Mississippi and Texas.
  • Florida Democrats are looking to remove current restrictions and allow for more access to mothers who wish to end their pregnancies.
  • State Rep. Webster Barnaby (R) filed HB 167, which is being called the Florida Heartbeat Act.
  • The language of HB 167 is similar to that of the Texas law preventing abortions after a heartbeat is detected in the child.
MORE IMPORTANT DETAILS:
  • Barnaby’s bill requires women who are seeking to have an abortion to undergo testing to discover whether the child’s heartbeat is detectable.
  • The bill then blocks physicians from performing or inducing an abortion if a heartbeat can be detected, with a few exceptions.
  • The bill also changes the definition of abortion from “the removal of a dead fetus” to “the termination of human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead unborn child.”
  • Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson is supporting HB 167, saying that the allowance of civil prosecution allows for a “new approach.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Like the Texas law, Barnaby’s HB167 allows for private civil action against those who violate the law, taking some of the burden put on the state by Roe v. Wade off their plate.
  • Republican women filed their companion bill to HB 167, HB5, and SB 146, which sets out to “reduce fetal and infant mortality,” and, like Mississippi’s abortion ban, also addresses issues other than abortion.
  • According to Business Insider, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is open to signing a Mississippi-style abortion law.