Republicans in the Florida state legislature have introduced a wave on anti-choice bills that would all but ban abortion in the state.
The house’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 8-3 Monday to move forward with perhaps the most extreme of the bills, HB 865, also called the Florida for Life Act. That measure would make performing an abortion or operating an abortion clinic a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
“The Legislature finds that all human life comes from the Creator, has an inherent value that cannot be quantified by man, and begins at the earliest biological development of a fertilized human egg,” the bill reads.
HB 865 states that the viability and undue burden standards established by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are arbitrary and inadequate for protecting unborn human life.
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“The bill recognizes that both the mother and the baby are citizens of the state of Florida … and we are therefore compelled to protect their lives,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles Van Zant (R-Keystone Heights).
The proposed bill includes very few exceptions to its sweeping abortion ban, and would require two doctors to submit written statements certifying that the abortion is “necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition.”
The subcommittee meeting stirred up racially charged testimony from one anti-choice activist, who begins speaking at the 1:07:32 mark.
“We see the destruction we’re bringing upon ourself as a nation,” the activist said. “The Muslims, they don’t kill the babies.”
As reported by Raw Story, he then said that “white people” do not “live on an island” and that Mexicans do not have abortions.
“Their race is through the breeding of having families, children. And what happens is once you see the condition we’re in, we’re destroying ourselves and destroying our families, we’ve accepted something in this country that the Creator—that we’re going to pay for …
You don’t see us as a culture, as a white culture, pushing this agenda of abortion, women outside the home not having babies, everybody getting more and more and more?” [the activist] asked the lawmakers. “We’re a sick nation and if we don’t repent then the people leading our government, you are legislating morality by the laws you pass.”
HB 865 is identical to a bill that failed to pass last year.
A different house committee pushed forward two other anti-choice bills. HB 233 would require all abortion clinics to meet the requirements of an outpatient surgical center, similar to provisions in Texas’ HB 2, which will be heard by the Supreme Court this year.
The other bill, HB 1411, would block state funding for clinics that perform elective abortions, require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within “reasonable distance” from the clinic, and establish new inspection criteria for abortion clinics by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
“It’s a medically unnecessary regulation,” Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, told the Bradenton Herald. “Admitting privileges have nothing to do with the quality of care an abortion provider provides. In fact, admitting privileges are often hard to get because abortion is a safe procedure.”