Disability abortion bill teed up in House
Rep. Erin Grall.

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If passed, Florida would join nine other states in the prohibition.

The House took up a bill Thursday that would ban disability abortions in Florida, readying the measure for debate and a floor vote.

Sponsored by Republican Rep. Erin Grall, the bill (HB 1221) would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion if they know or should know that a woman’s decision to abort is based on a test result that suggests a disability.

The bill makes exceptions for abortions deemed necessary to save a woman’s life. It also extends immunity to a woman if they violate or conspire to violate the provision.

“I believe that the state does have a compelling interest in making sure that abortions are not used as a form of modern-day eugenics,” Grall told lawmakers on the House floor.

Throughout the committee process, Democratic lawmakers have expressed staunch opposition to the measure.

On Thursday, they questioned the bill’s intricacies including privacy concerns and possible impacts on minority and low-income women.

They also questioned how the bill would be exercised if signed into law.

In previous committees, Grall explained that a family member or medical worker could report an instance in which they believe an abortion violates the proposal.

“A complaint would be filed with law enforcement and law enforcement would be able to undergo an investigation and obtain evidence in the way that they would normally,” Grall added Thursday.

Democrats filed four amendments including one to make an exception for pregnancies related to rape and human trafficking.

Republicans rejected all amendments.

If passed, Florida would become the 10th state to ban disability abortions.

Notably, legal challenges are ongoing in seven of the nine states with similar laws in place.

According to a staff analysis, data on disability abortions is limited and not tracked by most states.

“However, retrospective analysis of abortions from 1995-2011 estimated that 67%-85% of women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome in the United States elect to abort the fetus,” the staff analysis adds.

If passed and signed into law, the bill would take effect on July 1.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.


One comment

  • Florida Voice for the Unborn

    April 23, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Florida Voice for the Unborn’s executive director today issued the following statement regarding House Bill 1221 (Prohibition of Disability Abortions):

    “Florida Voice for the Unborn enthusiastically applauds the Florida House of Representatives for finally passing this afternoon House Bill 1221, which will stop Florida abortions based on a diagnosis of genetic disability. The vote was 74-to-44 in favor of the bill, with three Republicans outrageously joining all but one Democrat in opposition. A version of this legislation has been filed in previous Legislative Sessions, but had never been heard before a committee, let alone passed on the floor, until this year!

    Florida Voice for the Unborn has been the leading grassroots organization in the Sunshine State pushing for this lifesaving legislation. As executive director of Florida Voice for the Unborn, I testified in favor of the bill before the House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee and the House Health & Human Services Committee. Florida Voice for the Unborn’s grassroots supporters throughout Florida contacted House members to move HB 1221 through the committee process.

    Florida Voice for the Unborn expresses our profound thanks to tireless pro-life champion Rep. Erin Grall (R—Indian River & St. Lucie Counties) for sponsoring this much needed piece of pro-life legislation, which – when enacted into law – will contribute to building an authentic Culture of Life here in the Sunshine State.

    Children who are diagnosed with Down syndrome or another genetic disability prior to their birth should not be targeted for extermination. They are God’s children and have the same right to life as all other persons.

    I appreciate Rep. James Bush III (D—Miami-Dade County) for breaking with his Democratic colleagues and supporting this abortion ban. Listening today and yesterday to pro-abortion Democratic representatives voraciously defend, on the House floor, the systematic murder of disabled unborn children was nauseating. Equally sickening, however, was the fact that there were three Republican representatives who cowardly said nothing during the floor debate but nonetheless joined in voting against this abortion ban. These three representatives are Rep. Mike Caruso (R—Palm Beach County), Rep. Sam Killebrew (R—Polk County), and Rep. Rene Plasencia (R—Brevard & Orange Counties). They are traitors to the unborn and will be held accountable for that betrayal. They need to either adhere to the Republican Party’s explicitly pro-life platform, or they need to exit the Republican Party without delay.

    Sadly, with just one week left to go in this year’s regular Legislative Session, pro-life victories have been few and far between. House Bill 1221’s companion bill in the Senate (Senate Bill 1664) had been blocked by the pro-abortion chair of the Senate’s Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee, Senator Lauren Book (D—Broward County), who refused to place the bill on her committee’s agenda. Florida Voice for the Unborn calls upon Senate President Wilton Simpson (R—Citrus, Hernando, & Pasco Counties) to employ whatever special procedural maneuvers are necessary for the Senate to take-up and vote on House Bill 1221. Florida Voice for the Unborn fully expects the House and Senate leadership to get this ban on disability abortions to the desk of pro-life Governor Ron DeSantis by the end of the regular Legislative Session, which concludes April 30th. Because unborn children’s lives are at stake, anything less is completely unacceptable.”

    Florida Voice for the Unborn is a Tallahassee-based grassroots lobbying group that only focuses on pro-life issues impacting the unborn. It is strictly independent, and its work is guided by faith in God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. Florida Voice for the Unborn supports all peaceful efforts by elected officials and others to end abortion and save lives. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Parler @UnbornVoiceFL – and visit our website.

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