Florida Republicans Draft Restrictive Abortion Law Democrats Have Little Power to Stop

TALLAHASSI – Florida lawmakers plan to pass legislation this year that will drastically restrict how and when people can have abortions, a move that will undoubtedly fuel growing tensions in the country over conservative efforts to topple power. Roe vs. Wade

Republicans, who control the Florida Legislature, spent months crafting a proposal after Texas lawmakers banned all abortion after six weeks of pregnancy in May and opened private lawsuits to abortion service providers. They settled on a less extreme, yet restrictive measure that would anger Democrats and abortion rights advocates across the country: a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, unless two doctors agree that the fetus has a fatal anomaly. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. Florida law prohibits abortion after 24 weeks.

The House of Representatives and the State Senate on Tuesday presented an identical law outlining policy that is similar to the law passed by legislators in Mississippi in 2018. The details of the new proposal were first message on Tuesday morning from POLITICO

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is due for re-election this fall, has widely offered support for any measure restricting access to abortion.

“I think there are many laws that protect life and we will welcome them,” DeSantis said at a press conference at the State Capitol, where the 2022 legislative session just kicked off on Tuesday. “Having protection makes a lot of sense.”

DeSantis joined five other governors in signing the July amicus memo asking the Supreme Court to overturn the decision. Caviar supporting Mississippi law.

Democrats, with little power in the Florida Legislature, have publicly denounced restrictive abortion measures ahead of the session. But so far there hasn’t been any bill to protest against, they’ve mostly limited themselves to highlighting the influence of Mississippi and Texas laws.

Rep. Anna Escamani, a progressive Democrat from Orlando, suggested that the abortion debate would become one of Florida’s biggest political controversies this year, potentially affecting the state’s midterm elections on the battlefield and sparking debate in Washington.

“I really emphasize that people need to remember that we are talking about people in your districts who find themselves in these delicate situations and deserve and have the constitutional right to choose and decide what to do,” Escamani said.

Florida Democrats have filed active legislation that would preserve access to abortion, including a measure by Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg) that would contradict the type of legislation announced Tuesday. But few talk about what is happening in the Legislative Assembly, Democrats have no chance of succeeding in this bill.

“I think part of our joint effort is to prevent the GOP from setting targets for us,” Escamani said.

Florida’s legislative battle over access to abortion reflects an ongoing nationwide debate over reproductive rights following the passage of the Texas and Mississippi laws, both of which remain in legal uncertainty. A pending Supreme Court decision on the 15-week Mississippi ban may overturn a 1973 Supreme Court ruling. Caviar a solution by allowing other states to more aggressively restrict access to abortion and narrow medical exceptions.

While Florida lawmakers routinely review and lift tough abortion bans during every legislative session, this year seems to be a different one. GOP lawmakers appear to be far more receptive to abortion restrictions, even if they don’t plan to enact a Texas-style law that allows individuals to sue abortion providers. The six-week ban in Texas law was part of early negotiations between Florida Republicans who drafted a new abortion bill, but lawmakers settled on the 15-week ban as the safest route. Caviar and a state secret regulation.

Senate version of the bill, EL SB146 (22R)was filed Tuesday by State Senate Appropriation Chair Kelly Stargel (R-Lakeland), who filed several other abortion-related bills during her tenure in the House. This year’s proposal is the most restrictive of those considered by legislative leaders.

“I myself was once a frightened teenage mother and I understand the confusion of a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy,” Stargel said in a statement. “Women and children deserve more than abortion.”

Senate President Wilton Simpson has said he does not support the civil enforcement provision of Texas law, but he has yet to publicly comment on the new proposal. House Speaker Chris Sprawles said on Tuesday that the bill introduced on Tuesday “significantly narrows the available window for elective abortion.” providing new resources and programs to reduce infant mortality in Florida. ”

State Senator Kathleen Passidomo (Republican from Naples), who is due to replace Simpson as Senate President next year, opposes a civil action fee-based approach to enforce Texas law. In October, Passidomo expressed interest in limiting abortion beyond the state’s current 24-week restrictions.

House version, FL HB5 (22R), will be sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach).

“I am proud to support this law as the cornerstone of my struggle to live in Florida,” Grall said.

Democrats see hope at the local level. Escamani pointed to at least 14 municipalities and counties that have recently taken measures to protect access to abortion.

St. Petersburg City Councilor Darden Rice, whom Escamani named one of the first elected officials to advocate protective measures, said Republican legislative efforts showed why local laws remain important.

“It’s time to acknowledge these anti-abortion threats and highlight how local officials like here in St. Petersburg are stepping up to recognize our communities in order to fight back these state attacks,” Rice said.

Attempts to ban abortion there have been unsuccessful. The Manatee County Commission has discussed plans to adopt Safe Harbor status for unborn babies. However, in December, Attorney General Ashley Moody rejected the plan. However, she pointed to a previous decision by the attorney general to block a similar plan in another area in 1985. In a letter this month, Moody’s attorney wrote that local law cannot interfere with the implementation of state law. The letter also indicates that the bill is pending.

One of the forces behind the thwarted plans of Manatee County was Mark Lee Dixon, the author of the Texas abortion law, who is also the director of the Cities of Refuge for the Unborn Initiative and head of the East Texas Right to Life organization. Dixon wrote in an email that Florida communities no longer have funds for abortion should ignore Moody’s and continue to adopt local bans.

"Counties and cities in Florida that do not have abortion sites should not use the Florida office as an excuse for not considering a local abortion ban, ”Dixon wrote. “Cities and counties have a way to ban abortion in Florida that is consistent with their state laws.”

Dixon said his efforts helped enforce bans in 22 Texas cities before the Heartbeat Act was passed in September.

“This is what is in the health and safety interests of all of their residents,” Dixon wrote.

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