After clearing its final obstacle in committee, the legislation to outlaw abortions at six weeks is now scheduled for a vote in the Florida Senate.
SB 300, which would reduce the legal limit on abortion from 15 to six weeks with some exceptions, was the subject of a hearing this week before the Florida Senate’s Fiscal Policy Committee. The preservation of the mother’s life, rape or incest, or a fatal fetal abnormality in a pregnancy that hasn’t reached the third trimester are among those exceptions.
For example, the law says that if the mother’s life is saved:
“Two doctors must certify in writing that, in their professional opinion, the pregnancy must be terminated in order to save the expectant mother’s life or prevent a serious risk of significant and irreversible physical impairment of a major function of the body apart from a psychological condition.”
The law also forbids using “telehealth” to conduct abortions and mandates that physicians notify “the central abuse hotline” of any rape or incest involving minors. Additionally, it forbids anyone other than a doctor from performing the abortion.
“Anyone who willfully conducts or actively takes part in a pregnancy termination in contravention of the provisions of this section or s. 390.01112 violates a third-degree crime, punishable as specified in s. 775.082, s. 231 775.083, or s.” The law states that anyone who violates the requirements and conducts an abortion that kills the woman will be charged with a “felony of the second degree,” per Section 775.084.
State Senator Erin Grall (R), the bill’s sponsor, said, “We are here to have the discussion about what Florida wants to stand for. Does Florida want to advance a culture of life, one that values all forms of life?”
Unsurprisingly, Democrats in the state Senate are opposed.
State Senator Geraldine Thompson (D), a Democrat, claimed that “we are removing free will. We are eliminating option. This all boils down to that.”
It’s noteworthy that a baby’s heartbeat can be heard starting at three weeks into a pregnancy and can be seen at six weeks.
The House Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee has advanced the bill, which still needs to clear a few more obstacles in the committee before being voted on by the full House, while the Florida House is working to approve its own version of the legislation, HB 7.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has said he will approve more pro-life legislation. This follows the governor’s signing of a law banning abortions after 15 weeks nearly a year ago, in April 2022. A few months later, the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, returning abortion-related choices to the states.
DeSantis responded, “We’re for pro-life,” when questioned earlier this year about pro-life bills.
It’s “what I’ve always wanted to do,” he continued, “so I urge the legislature to work, produce good stuff, and we will sign.”