UPDATED 10:15 AM PT – Friday, February 18, 2022
The Florida House of Representatives voted to pass a bill further restricting abortion access for women in the Sunshine State. The Republican-controlled House passed the measure with overwhelming support early Thursday morning, ruling over Democrats who argued the bill would impose an ”unnecessary burden” on Florida women.
Republicans touted the bill as “protection for the unborn” while admitting that it runs counter to the protections given under Roe v. Wade. However, the GOP lawmakers noted the bill would set Florida in line with federal regulations should the Supreme Court overturn the monumental case. They asserted current federal abortion laws show how much Americans have devalued human life.
“Abortion strikes at the core of everything that is wrong with our communities in our country today because we have devalued human life to such an extent that we should not be surprised about the outcomes that we see and the failures that we face every day in our communities,” stated State Rep. Erin Grall (R-Fla. “With that, I’d ask for your favorable support.”
The bill mirrors a similar six-week measure passed in Texas as well as one passed in Mississippi in 2018, which is now under review following an appeal by the Supreme Court. While no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking were explicitly named in the measure, lawmakers noted abortions would be permitted in the case having the baby would endanger the mother’s life, well-being or if the baby had a fatal abnormality.
During the hours-long deliberation in the House, lawmakers expressed their deep-rooted beliefs surrounding abortion, including the tragedy that many aborted children could havve grown into key pieces of today’s society.
“One of the greatest tragedies of abortion is that we will never know who we aborted,” said State Rep. Dana Trabulsy (R-Fla.). “Perhaps it was the next Mozart. Maybe it was the next Martin Luther King. The next Benjamin Franklin, or maybe it was someone like you and I. A state legislator, a housekeeper, a carpenter or a rabbi. We’ll never know because we never gave them a chance and that chance is a chance that everyone deserves.”
According to 2021 reports, abortions past 15 weeks account for around 3.5 percent of all abortions performed in Florida. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has previously signaled his support for such a measure, which now heads to the GOP controlled state Senate for a vote. Under the current law, abortions are permitted up to 24 weeks into pregnancy. Should the new measure get passed, it will reportedly go into effect July 1.