Here in Florida Ron DeSantis and GOP lawmakers are still pushing as early as next week to approve a far-reaching ban on most abortions after about four weeks or six weeks of pregnancy on Monday. The current bill would impose restrictions on telehealth abortions and medication. It would include exemptions for women facing life-threatening harm while pregnant and victims of rape, incest and human trafficking. Florida House Speaker Paul Renner is even trying to sell the legislative proposal as a “compromise” because there are some Republicans who want an all-out ban.
The bill targets both physicians who perform abortions and those who “actively participate in” them, and any person who violates the bill could be charged with a third-degree felony.
The bill would have larger implications for abortion access throughout the south, as the nearby states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi prohibit the procedure at all stages of pregnancy and Georgia bans it after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which is around six weeks.
“Bodily autonomy should not give a person the permission to kill an innocent human being. We live in a time where the consequences of our actions are an afterthought and convenience has been substitution for responsibility, and this is unacceptable when it comes to the protection of the most vulnerable.”Erin Grall, a Republican state senator who sponsored the bill, stated.
The proposal allows exceptions to save the life of the woman and exceptions in the case of pregnancy caused by rape or incest until 15 weeks of pregnancy. In those cases, a woman would have to provide documentation such as a medical record, restraining order or police report.It would require that the drugs used in medication-induced abortions – which make up the majority of those provided nationally – could be dispensed only in person by a physician.
DeSantis has called the rape and incest provisions sensible.
Florida’s more limited 15-week restrictions allowed the state to become an abortion sanctuary in the Southeast. Other abortion rights advocates say the Florida bill unfairly seeks to ban abortions before many even know they are pregnant.
When legislators do pass the proposal for victims of rape, incest and human trafficking it will be just one of many recent policy victories for DeSantis.
Democratic state senator Lauren Book urged women to contact her office directly, saying on the senate floor.
“Please don’t take matters into your own hands. Do not put your safety at risk. No back-alley abortions. There are people and funds that will help you. No matter where you live, no matter how desperate of a situation you are in, no matter how helpless it may seem. I promise, you are not alone. Call my office.”Book stated.
“This bill will unfairly and disproportionately impact people who live in rural communities, people with low incomes, people with disabilities, and people of color, Hundreds of thousands of pregnant people will be forced to travel out of state to seek the care they need. Many people will not even know they are pregnant by six weeks, and for those who do, it is unlikely they will be able to schedule the legally required two in-person doctor’s appointments before six weeks of pregnancy.”Kara Gross, the legislative director and senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said in a statement.
Protesters opposing the abortion ban made their voices heard during the legislative debate and some were kicked out of the state capitol.The White House has also criticized the pending bill.
“The President and Vice President believe women should be able to make health care decisions with their doctors and families – free from political interference. They are committed to protecting access to reproductive care, and continue to call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in federal law.”White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement when the bill was first introduced.