Less than a year after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning abortions in Florida after six weeks, a House Republican in the Legislature has filed a bill that essentially calls for the banning of all abortions in Florida. The move comes as the 2024 legislative session opens on Tuesday.
Miami-Dade County Rep. David Borrero’s proposal (HB 1519) filed Monday says that “a person or an entity may not purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.”
The measure would target physicians who perform abortions, and not the women who get them. The measure says that the penalty for “performing or attempting to perform an abortion” would be a third-degree felony, subject to as much as 10 years in prison or with a fine of up to $100,000, “or both.”
“This section does not authorize a woman to be charged with or convicted of a criminal offense in the death of her own child,” the measure says.
As to what would constitute a medical emergency, the measure says that would be “an emergent physical condition in which an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”
Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani blasted the proposal.
“Florida Republicans continue to show us just how far they are willing to go with the filing of HB1519, a total abortion ban,” she said in a written statement. “This policy proposal eliminates what are already narrow exceptions for rape and incest and would force Floridians into pregnancy. It’s unhinged and extreme and not what the majority of Floridians want. As we organize on the ground in defense of reproductive freedom, we must continue to fight like hell in the chamber. Floridians deserve the ability to make personal and private decisions about their future and we will not stop fighting until that vision is the reality for all.”
Most abortions in Florida are currently banned after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest, a law which passed in the 2022 legislative session. That law has been challenged by Planned Parenthood, and the Florida Supreme Court is expected to rule on that challenge soon. If the court affirms the law, a six-week abortion ban with exceptions for rape and incest that Gov. DeSantis signed last year would then shortly go into effect.
Meanwhile a group attempting to get an abortion rights amendment on the Nov. 2024 ballot said last week that they are one step closer to getting that accomplished.
Floridians Protecting Freedom announced that it has gathered 910,946 valid signatures—it needed 891,523 to get to the ballot—according to the latest count from the Florida Division of Elections on Friday. The campaign also garnered enough support from more than eight percent of voters in 17 congressional districts. The measure still needs to have its ballot language approved by the Florida Supreme Court.
If the amendment makes the ballot, it must win at least 60% of the vote to secure passage.
The ballot initiative’s summary states in part, “No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.”
An attorney with the campaign said during a press conference on Friday that the group is confident in its ballot summary and will make its case in court on Feb. 7. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has asked the court in briefs to reject the initiative because she deems the use of the term viability is ambiguous.
There are 14 states that ban abortion outright, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
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