TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Pro-life groups are calling on state leaders in Florida to increase restrictions on new bills that would prohibit abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy.
Identical “heartbeat” bills filed in the House and Senate last week don’t go far enough, according to Students for Life, Florida Voice for the Unborn and Abolish Abortion Florida.
“Bills Allow for the Murder of Some to Save Others,” the email headline from Abolish Abortion Florida stated. Students for Life said the bills are a “step in the right direction” but added “we want protection from the moment of conception.”
FLORIDA: “AN ABORTION TOURIST STATE”
Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins called Florida “an abortion tourist state” now that clinics are shutting down in other southeastern states due to restrictions that begin at conception.
Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June, Planned Parenthood in Jacksonville reported that their abortion appointments doubled as a result of women crossing state lines in order to take advantage of Florida’s more lenient policies.
“Florida is the only Republican-controlled state in the nation that’s in the top ten worst abortion states,” Hawkins said at a rally outside the Capitol on March 7. “More than 80,000 children in Florida will die this year from abortion.”
“Now is the time for Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker [Paul Renner] to stand together and do what their constituents elected them to do in November, which is be pro-life,” she added. “Being pro-life means passing a life-at-conception act to eliminate all abortions here in Florida, no matter the circumstances.”
REPUBLICAN SUPPORT FOR LEGAL ABORTION
Although Florida has become a red state under the popular leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, recent polling suggests GOP voters hold a less conservative view on the issue of abortion.
Two days after Hawkins’ remarks at the Capitol, a University of North Florida (UNF) survey showed that 61 percent of state Republican voters said they oppose a 6-week ban. In February 2022, another UNF poll found that 38 percent of Republicans opposed the current 15-week ban.
Despite these polls, pro-life activists remain resolute in pushing the envelope with the 6-week bills making their way through the state legislature.
“What we’re going to do now for the next 60 days, is we’re going to strengthen that bill,” Andrew Shirvell, founder and executive director of Florida Voice for the Unborn, said at the March 7 rally. “We are hoping and praying that hearts will be changed so that the bill will read: ‘No abortions from the moment of conception, without exception.’”