Republicans advance bill banning certain abortions, welcome court challenges – Florida Politics

Republicans advance bill banning certain abortions, welcome court challenges

A House bill that would do away with the “most commonly performed” method of abortion in Florida was advanced on Wednesday, with some Republicans welcoming challenges in court if it is deemed unconstitutional upon passage.

The chances of the bill passing this Session, however, are unlikely. The companion bill in the Senate has yet to hold a hearing.

But the controversial proposal, HB 1429, is still moving ahead in the House and cleared its second of three committee assignments on Wednesday, where it drew criticism from Democrats and an American Civil Liberties Union representative.

“This tramples on women’s rights to access the safest and most commonly used method of abortion during the second trimester,” said Kara Gross with the ACLU.

Under the bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Erin Grall, physicians would face a third-degree felony if they use tools, such as clamps and thongs, during the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure unless a woman’s life is in danger.

The proposal opened up a heated debate that ranged from Republican Rep. George Moraitis calling the procedure a baby “execution” to Democratic state Rep. Cynthia Stafford saying terminating a pregnancy is a decision between a “woman and her god, not a woman and her government.”

“This is not going to result in changing existing practices because we have an independent judiciary and rule of law that protects the rights of people — yes, even women  in our society,” Democratic Rep. Joseph Geller said.

Republican Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen supported the measure, but urged lawmakers to push harder to give women greater access to reproductive education and birth control so they “don’t find themselves in these situations.”

Several other states have passed legislation similar to the one proposed by Grall this year. These laws have opened the states up to challenges in court. That worried some Republicans who helped advance the measure.

That included Rep. Scott Plakon who was disturbed that a “big move to protect lobsters” would get more support than a bill that would “protect a sentient being from feeling pain during a procedure performed by monsters.”

“God help us that this is going on,” Plakon said, “let’s vote yes and find out what the courts will say on this. I would consider it money well spent to go through the courts.”

Gross said taxpayers would end up footing the bill in litigation costs for the “Legislature’s insistence on passing unconstitutional legislation.”

Ana covers politics and policy for Florida Politics. Before joining Florida Politics, she was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. She holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.

4 Comments

    1. Heather – you said that you support increased education and birth control so women “don’t find themselves in these situations,” but this procedure isn’t usually “elective” per say. D&Es are usually only done to abort fetuses with abnormalities or severe medical issues, and to expedite or complete miscarriages. women who want abortions usually do them in the first trimester. This is only hurting women who are having pregnancy complications, Heather Fitzenhagen.

  1. This legislation (HB 1429 and SB 1890) addresses a procedure that is usually only done to abort fetuses with abnormalities or severe medical issues, and to expedite or complete miscarriages. This means a woman would be painfully forced to carry a fetus with severe medical problems or abnormalities to term, even if it puts her life at risk. I’m disappointed with my representatives for allowing this.

    1. For those who didn’t see the Committee Meeting, here is what dismemberment is

      From the HB1429 PDF:

      390.011 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
      (6) “Dismemberment abortion” means an abortion in which a
      person, with the purpose of causing the death of a fetus,
      dismembers the living fetus and extracts the fetus one piece at
      a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping
      forceps, tongs, scissors, or a similar instrument that, through
      the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps,
      or performs any combination of those actions on, a piece of the
      fetus’ body to cut or rip the piece from the body. The term does
      not include an abortion that uses suction to dismember the body
      of a fetus by sucking pieces of the fetus into a collection
      container.”

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