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'Big government' abortion bill advancing in Florida legislature

Health and Choice at Risk
Health and Choice at Risk
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

As reported in the Miami Herald, a contentious bill that would add new restrictions to Florida's existing ban on third-trimester abortions yesterday cleared its final hurdle, and now heads for a full floor vote in the Florida House of Representatives.

House Bill (HB) 1047 was passed by the House Judiciary Committee in an 8-4 vote, with all four NAYS coming from Democratic Representatives gravely concerned about any law allowing state government to interfere with individual women’s health and medical decisions. HB1047 would expand the state's late-term abortion ban to include any case in which a physician determined the fetus was in any way still "medically viable".

A similar bill, SB 918, is moving at a slower pace through the state senate, and is expected to reach the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates has spearheaded efforts to defeat both bills, noting that there is already a ban on third trimester abortions in the state. In a statement the organization says:

Politicians have no place getting between a woman and her doctor but HB 1047 and its companion bill in the Senate would do exactly that. These bills dramatically narrow current health exceptions for abortions later in pregnancy, in a way that puts women’s lives and health in jeopardy. The last thing a woman needs when she is facing complications with her health or the health of her pregnancy is to have options taken away from her. There is no place for politicians in the exam room.”

When the House version of the bill was passed by recently by the Health and Human Services Committee, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida’s Vice President for Medical Affairs, Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, said this:

This legislation attempts to insert politics into a deeply personal and complex decision that should be left to a woman, her family, her faith and her doctor. What’s worse, it would impose barriers on Florida women without regard for the unique circumstances that each woman may face during pregnancy...

Every pregnancy is different. A pregnant woman experiencing complications that threaten her health or life should be able to consider all options with her physician, without interference from politicians.

There are no exceptions in this ban if a doctor diagnoses a severe fetal anomaly, even if it means the fetus will not survive more than a few hours or days. In states that have enacted laws like this, some women and their families have been put into heartbreaking situations – needing to end a pregnancy for serious medical reasons, but unable to do so.”

Planned Parenthood is hoping all opponents of expanded government intervention in matters of personal choice, health and safety will take a few minutes in the days ahead to express that opposition to legislators.