The Florida state Senate is expected to pass a pro-life 15-week abortion ban despite a last-ditch effort from Democrats to block or inhibit the legislation.
Democratic lawmakers submitted 13 amendments this week to the 15-week abortion ban, HB 5, the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality Act, which passed the statehouse in February and is expected to pass the state Senate Thursday. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has signaled he supports the bill and is likely to sign it. If he does, the new law would go into effect in July.
“The governor supports pro-life legislation and is not responding to outcry from pro-abortion activists,” DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw told The Daily Wire Thursday. “The bottom line is that they’re demanding abortion after 15 weeks, which is when the fetus can already feel pain and is near viability; babies born as early as 20 weeks have survived.”
The bill permits exceptions when the mother’s life is at risk or in danger of “irreversible physical impairment,” or if the unborn baby has a fetal abnormality, such as Down Syndrome. It does not offer exceptions for rape.
Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel, the bill’s sponsor, argued that it is false to say that a “child should be killed because of the circumstances in which it was conceived.” Stargel’s stance appears to be shared by the governor’s office: “An innocent baby should not pay the ultimate price for a crime they did not commit,” Pushaw told The Daily Wire.
The bill has filled Florida’s abortion supporters with anxiety as they await a decision in the Supreme Court case Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving a 2018 Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks.
The case, which addresses whether bans on abortion before fetal viability are constitutional, may become the most pivotal abortion case in recent history, as it directly challenges the Supreme Court’s monumental Roe v. Wade decision.
We joined the @WhiteHouse today along w/other elected officials, reproductive health providers, abortion funds & community advocates to amplify what’s happening in FL with #HB5 and what it’s going to take to ensure access to care as states like ours try to ban abortion. pic.twitter.com/hTxlympoJn
— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) March 3, 2022
On Wednesday, Democrats made Republicans spend 4 hours and 25 minutes listening to explanations of each of these amendments — several of which are related to men and paternity.
Florida state Senator Tina Scott Polsky, a Democrat representing Palm Beach, proposed an amendment requiring fathers to begin paying child support “for an unborn child 15 beginning at the gestational age of 15 weeks.”
“While this amendment may have been voted down, I think it was and is incredibly important,” she told The Daily Wire in a Thursday statement. “Every state authorizes a custodial parent, the one who has the physical custody and daily care responsibilities, the right to child support, so arguably a pregnant woman should begin receiving payments at the 15-week mark.”
“This bill ensures that a person carrying a fetus to term is financially supported by the person who caused insemination of the egg before and after the fetus comes out of the womb,” she added. “If a person cannot get an abortion, their fetus and child should at least be supported financially.”
Annette Taddeo, a Democratic state senator from Miami, introduced an amendment that appears to be a response to legislation mandating that women undergo counseling before abortions, since it mandates that men receive counseling before vasectomies.
Sen. @Annette_Taddeo's amendment to the abortion ban #HB5 would require two doctors to sign off on a vasectomy. "We don't have a two-doctor requirement on any other medical procedure. If we're going to do it to women, let's also require it for men."
— Florida Planned Parenthood Action (@FAPPA) March 2, 2022
“A physician may not perform a vasectomy procedure unless two physicians certify in writing that they have counseled the man seeking the vasectomy procedure on the fact that the procedure will prevent future life from being created,” the amendment says.
Democratic state Sen. Lori Berman’s (Boynton Beach) amendment calls for the creation of a fund by the Florida Department of Health to pay expenses that are related to babies who are “born with fetal abnormalities and for the increase in the number of children entering the foster care system.”