A Florida state lawmaker hopes to duplicate Texas’s life-saving efforts with a pro-life heartbeat bill in his state.
On Wednesday, state Rep. Webster Barnaby, R-Deltona, introduced the Florida Heartbeat Act to protect unborn babies from abortion, News 6 Orlando reports.
Similar to the Texas heartbeat law, Florida House Bill 167 would require abortionists to check for an unborn baby’s heartbeat before doing an abortion and prohibit the abortion if they detect a heartbeat. Typically an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable by about six weeks of pregnancy.
The bill also includes a provision unique to the Texas law that would allow private citizens to enforce it by suing abortionists who abort unborn babies with detectable heartbeats or fail to check for a heartbeat before doing the abortion.
“… a fetal heartbeat is a key medical predictor that an unborn child will reach live birth, and cardiac activity begins at a biologically identifiable moment in time, normally when the fetal heart is formed in the gestational sac,” the bill states. It also emphasizes that Florida has a compelling interest in “protecting the health of the woman and the life of the unborn child.”
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Texas is the first state to be allowed to enforce a heartbeat law, and pro-life leaders estimate up to 100 babies are being saved from abortion every day in the state. All other state heartbeat laws have been blocked in court.
Pro-abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, are challenging the Texas law, but they have not succeeded thus far in convincing federal courts to block it. However, the court battle is far from over.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in Florida have expressed support for passing a similar law in their state.
Fox 29 reports state Senate President Wilton Simpson described the courts’ decisions not to block the law as an “encouraging” sign.
Lawmakers in other states also hope to copy Texas’s success and save babies from abortion.
John Seago, legislative director of Texas Right to Life, the anti-abortion group that helped draft SB 8, previously told Forbes he was working with legislators in three other states to draft similar legislation, not including Florida.
The Florida bill includes exceptions for rape, incest, domestic violence, human trafficking and threats to the mother’s life, according to News 6 Orlando.
Abortions almost completely have stopped in Texas since the law went into effect Sept. 1. In 2020, about 54,000 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, and about 85 percent happened after six weeks of pregnancy, according to state health statistics.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are reaching out to pregnant women across Texas with compassion and understanding, offering resources and emotional support to help them and their babies. Earlier this year, state lawmakers increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life for their babies.