Florida Legislature Approves Six Pro-Life Bills on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2011   |   12:35PM   |   Tallahassee, FL

Last week, the Florida state House of Representatives approved six pro-life bills that reduce or limit abortions and abortion funding. The legislation has the strong support of pro-life groups.

Bill Warren, the Director of Policy and Communications for the Florida Family Policy Council, told LifeNews.com he is proud of the sponsors of the bills and the lawmakers who voted for them, and he urged pro-life Floridians to let their legislators know they appreciated the vote.

“We are extremely grateful to each of these members for their support of Florida’s unborn children. These champions of life have provided an opportunity for us to impact the culture with a message of life. Take the time this week to thank them for their efforts,” Warren said.

The bills are as follows:

Ultrasound prior to an abortion (CS/HB 1127)This bill passed last year and was vetoed by former Governor Charlie Crist. It would require doctors giving an abortion to conduct an ultrasound to determine to the age of the baby being aborted. While the ultrasound is being performed, the doctor must explain the images to the mother. The sponsor, Rep. Liz Porter (R), is a first year member from Lake City, Florida. We appreciate her willingness to take on this issue in her first legislative session. The bill passed the House 81-37.
Prohibition of abortions after viability (CS/CS/HB 1397) – This bill would extend the prohibition on 3rd trimester abortions that currently exists in Florida statute to also prevent abortions after the child is viable or able to live outside the mother’s womb. Rep. Rachel Burgin (R) is the House sponsor of this bill. This bill passed the House 79-36.
Choose Life license plate (HB 501) – The Choose Life license plate is a popular license plate in Florida that allows Floridians to help support agencies that promote adoption in their home counties. Unfortunately, not all of the money collected from the sale of the license plate in the state has been making to those worth agencies. Last year, almost half of the $750,000 collected by the state remained in the trust fund at the end of the year. This bill will send the money collected to Choose Life Inc, which will distribute the funds to worthy agencies around the state in a timely manner. This will ensure the money gets into the hands of those who can use it to assist mothers placing children for adoption. Rep. Dennis Baxley (R) is the House Sponsor of this bill that passed 82-35.
Public Funding of Abortion (CS/HJR 1179) – This bill gives Florida voters the right to decide whether we should constitutionally ban the use of state or public dollars to fund abortions. If it passes both chambers, it will go on the ballot in 2012 for the voters to consider. If 60 percent of Florida voters approve it, this prohibition would be enshrined in the Florida Constitution. This bill, also sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley (R), passed the House 82-35. It was brought up in the Senate and they amended the bill to allow for state funding of abortions when the life or health of the mother was endangered. With this amendment, the Senate passed the bill 27-12 and sent it back to the House. Because the bill was changed in the Senate, the House will have to reconsider the bill this week and take another vote.
Public Funding of Abortion (CS/HB 97)Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), states are required to establish insurance exchanges through which citizens and small businesses would be able to purchase insurance. The law allows the states to “opt out” of providing insurance for abortions through these exchanges. This bill is Florida’s opt out bill and would continue the long standing policy of not using public money to fund abortions. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) passed the House 80-37. The Senate amended the bill to allow for abortions to protect the health of the mother and then passed the bill 28-11. With the changes, the House will have to vote on the bill again this week.
Parental Notification of Abortions (HB 1247)Florida’s parental notice of abortion law has been in effect since 2005.  To protect minors in extreme situations, the original law created a path through the court that a minor could take to avoid informing their parents before an abortion. This bill makes changes to the bypass process to ensure parental involvement in these decisions unless it would not be in the best interest of the child. Rep. Kelli Stargel (R) sponsored this bill which passed 82-35.