Florida Files 18 Anti-Abortion Bills This Session

Robin Marty

Florida may not win the "most restrictive" anti-abortion legislation prize, but they should at least get a runner up award as one of the most prolific.

The Florida legislature may not have been making the kind of anti-abortion bill headlines that Ohio or South Dakota has been recently.  But that doesn’t mean they haven’t been one of the busiest states in trying to restrict abortion access.

Via the Miami Herald:

Between a conservative Legislature and a more conservative governor, there’s a concentrated effort this year to tighten Florida’s abortion laws.

From reviving a measure to require a woman to receive an ultrasound before undergoing an abortion to a blanket ban that would pose a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, at least 18 bills are filed.

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“It’s an unprecedented year,” said Stephanie Kunkel, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

Some of the bills are mainly for show, like an all out ban in the state, which isn’t expected to make it through the senate, while others are the now sadly standard pushes for ultrasounds before an abortion or banning abortion coverage from insurance policies.

The insurance ban, the bill sponsor claims, isn’t about abortion, but simply how people buy insurance.  Yet the committee discussing the ban refused to allow any exceptions for health of the mother or fetus, claiming that could allow too many women to claim whatever they want.  St. Augustine.com reports:

Committee members shot down an amendment filed by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, that tried to expand exemptions in the bill from cases when rape or incest is involved to cases where “fetal impairment” could occur.

Republicans on the committee said the term could justify an abortion in almost any case. Opponents said it needs to be there to protect the mother in other instances, but the term should not wear a concrete label because it deals with issues that are very personal.

“That is a condition that needs to be addressed with those physicians and the patient,” said Suzie Prabhakaran, an OB/GYN and medical director at Planned Parenthood in Sarasota. “It’s kind of a case that you know it when you see it.”

Still, even with their 18 bills, Florida isn’t the state proposing the most bills. According to the Miami Herald, that honor belongs to West Virginia, with over 30 bills to restrict abortion.

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