The Florida state Senate gave initial approval to two pro-life bills that will likely receive a final vote on Thursday and go to pro-life Gov. Rick Scott, who has agreed to sign them into law.
The bills (HB 1127) would allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before an abortion so they can receive information about the development of their baby that abortion businesses normally do not provide. The second measure (HB 1247) provides better enforcement of the parental notification law that allows parents to know when their minor daughter is considering an abortion.
Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to amend the bills and water them down but Senate Republicans voted against the attempts and narrowly defeated them.
The votes in the Senate came after the state House last week approved a slate of six pro-life bills including the ultrasound and parental notification measures.
The ultrasound bill, Senate Bill 1744, requires abortion centers to do something they don’t normally do: show women considering an abortion the results of the ultrasound they typically take beforehand to determine the age of the baby at the time of the abortion.
Sen. Ronda Storms, a Republican who sponsored the bill after pro-abortion former Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a bill last year, said the measure is designed to give women more information.
“A doctor has an obligation to go over every procedure with a woman,” she said.
The allowance for an ultrasound is already on the books for women having second or third-trimester abortions but not for those women earlier in pregnancy — when a baby’s heart begins beating at 22 days or when brain waves are measurable at six weeks. HB 1127 would allow such women to see the ultrasound that studies show abortion centers already do. Rep. Liz Porter, a Republican who sponsored the bill in the House, confirmed most abortion businesses already do an ultrasound to determine the gestational age of the baby before the abortion and she is disappointed that women she’s talked to don’t get to see the image beforehand.
“It provides women with the knowledge, the truth, the facts, of the procedure that they are facing,” said Porter, according to the Palm Beach Post. “Too much knowledge is never a bad thing.”
Crist had said in his veto message last year that personal views about abortion shouldn’t be used to “expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary.” But Governor Rick Scott, a pro-life candidate who replaced Crist, supported it. Scott, a businessman, ran as a pro-life candidate and Florida Right to Life gave him an “A” grade and recommended him to voters.
“I am pro-life. I believe strongly in the sanctity of human life. I believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and as governor, would appoint judges who apply law and not impose their political agenda on the people, which was what was done in 1973 when Roe was wrongly decided,” he said on his web site.
Scott also said he disagreed with Crist’s veto.
“As governor, I would have signed the pro-life ultrasound legislation that has passed both house of the Florida legislature and was vetoed by Charlie Crist for political reasons,” he said. “This important legislation not only demonstrates that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life but also prevents Florida taxpayers from funding abortion through the federal health care plan that recently passed Congress.”
The parental notification bill relates additional requirements for teenagers when they want to use the Supreme Court-mandated judicial bypass provision meant for rare occasions in which teenagers are concerned about physical abuse at home by revealing their pregnancy to their parents. Abortion businesses have abused the law by judge shopping and finding those who will approve the bypass for any occasion in which a teen merely doesn’t want to inform her parents of her potential abortion.
The bill extends the time a court has to rule on whether a teenager should be allowed to be exempt from the law to investigate the situation more extensively. The bill also eliminates part of the law that indicates the notification requirement is automatically waived if the court does not issue a ruling. And the bill requires teens who do get their parents’ permission to have the permission slip notarized to ensure it is legal.
Bill sponsor Alan Hays said the bill is needed because it is easier for teens to get an abortion than minor medication at school.
“The state will not allow a school nurse or a school teacher to give that student a Tylenol or an Advil with out parental permission yet they’re willing to let them terminate a pregnancy without parental permission. I just find that completely unacceptable,” said Hays.
The Orlando Sentinel newspaper indicated that, during the House committee hearing, Planned Parenthood of Florida indicated about 5,000 teen abortions were done in 2010 and 381 teens asked to waive the parental notification requirements.
In 2004, Florida voters backed a constitutional amendment for parental notification, which received the support of 4,466,398 voters or 64.7 percent of the state’s residents. Only 35.3 percent of Florida voters (2,438,778) opposed it.
In 2006, there were 95,586 abortions performed in Florida, the latest year in which state health department data is available. The ultrasound bill would likely reduce that number.