TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Republican lawmakers filed twin bills on Tuesday that would increase abortion restrictions by prohibiting them after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
The highly anticipated legislation provides mothers with exemptions for a fetus conceived via rape or incest, but requires proof of victimization – such as a “restraining order, police report, medical record, or other court order.” These exemptions apply to a fetus 15-weeks and under.
The “Pregnancy and Parenting Support” proposals – HB 7, filed by Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka (R-Fort Myers) and SB 300, filed by Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach) – also allow for abortions in order to “save the pregnant woman's life” or prevent serious injury.
The proposals would also prohibit local governments entities and public universities from using taxpayer dollars to pay expenses for women traveling out of state to get abortions.
WHITE HOUSE RESPONDS
The White House took aim at Governor Ron DeSantis in its response to the news.
“Politicians like Governor DeSantis espouse ‘freedom for all,’ while directly attacking the freedom to make one’s own health care decisions,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement to McClatchy and The Miami Herald. “This proposal is wrong and out of touch with the overwhelming majority of Americans, including Floridians, who support a woman’s right to choose.”
Jean-Pierre added: “This ban would prevent not just the nearly four million Florida women of reproductive age from accessing abortion care after six weeks, but would also impact the nearly 15 million women of reproductive age who live in states across the South with abortion bans and would no longer be able to rely on Florida as an option to access care.”
Following his State of the State address, DeSantis told reporters on Tuesday that he would sign the bill, if passed.
REACTIONS IN FLORIDA
Florida Family Policy Council’s Aaron DiPietro celebrated the news on Twitter, writing: “This bill provides the strongest protections for the unborn in a generation and ensures that Florida is protecting vulnerable women and their young babies.”
Conversely, Planned Parenthood of Florida called on their followers to request Senate President Kathleen Passidomo to stonewall the legislation. Passidomo told reporters that she supports the bill.
Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book blasted the proposals, accusing Republicans of going “scorched earth.”
“If it’s a war they want, it’s a war they will get. This issue bridges the partisan divide, and we will not go down as easily as they believe,” Book added.
Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life Action, and Andrew Shirvell, founder and executive director of Florida Voice for the Unborn, both felt that the legislation did not go far enough.
Shirvell led a protest at the organizational legislative session in November, calling upon Republicans to protect life from the moment of conception.