Florida Anti Choice Legislation Would Make Abortion a Felony
Editor's Note: With 34 days left until the presidential election, PolicyMic's Audrey Farber will be posting a daily update on the state of abortion rights in the U.S., covering legislative challenges to Roe v. Wade in all 50 states. So far, we've gotten updates on West Virginia, Georgia, D.C., South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire. Check back in every day to keep track!
While some of us may have been bemused by image of a giant uterus descending on Florida during the Republican National Convention in August, it's much more likely that uteruses themselves are being descended upon in the sunshine state.
Florida is gearing up for a November 6th full of controversy. A restrictive anti-abortion constitutional amendment is included on the ballot, and has pro-choice activists all in a tizzy. A group of anti-abortion activists launched this campaign which would effectively “exempt abortions from the privacy clause of the state constitution,” comparing abortions for minors to piercings and tattoos. The measure would also prohibit the use of public funds for abortions, except as required under federal law and in order to save the mother’s life.
Floridians: a no vote opposes these measures.
In its 2011 legislative session, Florida’s State House passed six abortion-limiting bills, and a record-setting 18 were filed: a bill requiring a pre-procedure ultrasound; a bill prohibiting abortion clinics from performing third-trimester abortions; a bill making it more difficult for minors to obtain a judge’s waiver in lieu of parental consent; a bill placing a question on the November 2012 ballot “asking voters whether the Florida constitution should be amended to ban public funding for abortions and health-benefits coverage for abortions”; a bill channeling money from Choose Life license plates to the organization Choose Life Inc., instead of the counties in which the tags are registered; and a bill prohibiting plans including abortion coverage from being sold on the state’s health exchange.
Florida became the second state, after Oklahoma, to require ultrasounds after anti-choice Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law in October of 2011. Limitation on public funding, parental notification, and state health exchange bills also passed.
Before the 2012 session, lawmakers again introduced a spate of anti-abortion legislation. There was the bill that would make abortions felonies and require two physician’s signatures to validate any termination of a pregnancy (which Jezebel called batshit), the bill that would “redefine the death of a 'viable fetus' as the death of an 'unborn child',” the bill that would limit late-term abortions and implement a 24-hour waiting period, one that would “require abortion providers to sign an affidavit stating they're not performing the procedure because the woman did not want a child of a particular gender or race,” the one that would require all abortion clinics to be owned and operated by doctors (targeting places like Planned Parenthood), and, of course, the requisite fetal pain bill.
Most of these measures ultimately failed, but beware: Florida politicians seem determined to reintroduce them until they pass, and Florida anti-abortion activists seem determined to continue fire-bombing clinics until they get their way. Feel safe?