Joe Henderson: Anti-abortion Republicans again remind women who’s in charge
The Supreme Court may hear an expeditied appeal of the Taxas anti-abortion law. Image via AP.

Supreme Court Abortion Texas
Republicans love freedom, unless it's a woman's body.

It didn’t take long for Florida Republicans to follow Texas’s lead by introducing a strict anti-abortion law.

The reality is, they want to remind pregnant women who’s in charge around here.

Rep. Webster Barnaby of Deltona filed HB 167 Wednesday, the latest move by freedom-loving Republicans. It would outlaw abortions if doctors detect a fetal heartbeat, which can occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

If passed, it would create the Texas-style vigilantes here. It would empower them to sue the doctor, and anyone else involved in an abortion.

Republicans love freedom, huh?

It infringes on their freedom if they’re required to wear a mask in public to protect against COVID-19.

Providing proof that they had a COVID-19 vaccination before boarding a cruise ship so they won’t transmit a deadly virus to other passengers also infringes on their freedom.

Suppose they’re required to have a vaccination as a condition for keeping their job. No way! FREEDOM!

But, taking away a woman’s control over her own body in her most vulnerable moment is hunky-dory. Subjecting her to some citizen yahoo stalker who can sue anyone involved in an abortion, even, it seems, an Uber driver, is peachy keen.

The bill almost certainly won’t pass as filed. I guess that’s the semi-silver lining here.

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo previously said she won’t support a “cut and paste” of the Texas law. She is in line to become Senate President if Republicans keep control of the chamber in 2022.

“I am pro-life, but I am not pro-telling on your neighbors,” the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported she said in a recent speech.

However, it’s precisely the vigilante part of the Texas law that makes this a confusing issue for the courts. By taking actions out of the hands of law enforcement, the state is not involved in prohibiting abortion.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to block that law but stressed it was a matter of judicial procedure. The justices didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the law but said it had to face “procedurally proper challenges.”

While that plays out, though, Tallahassee will fiddle, burn, and throw more logs on the fire.

Barnaby, meanwhile, has been down this legislative road before.

In the most recent Session, he filed a bill to prohibit abortion of unborn children capable of feeling pain.

It died in committee.

Another one of his bills would have stopped physicians from “performing or inducing, or attempting to perform or induce, disability abortion.”

That, too, died in committee.

Republicans have long made this issue a rallying cry, as we know. It would be nice if they cared as much about what happens after the mother and infant leave the hospital.

Florida’s foster care system is a train wreck, as USA Today reported in March.

The state agencies sent nearly 170 children to live in foster homes where the state had some evidence that abuse occurred.

The newspaper said caseworkers put children into foster homes not equipped to handle them, violating state guidelines.

Nearly 55% of Florida’s 4 million children are either living in or near poverty. One in five Florida children suffers from food insecurity.

But hey, let’s not talk about that, right, Rep. Barnaby?

Nope. Let’s just show all those women out there that you’re pro-birth.

However, as far as life, well, babies are on their own once they exit the womb.

You know, freedom.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Alex

    September 22, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Abortion is really a very simple issue.

    Don’t believe in abortion?

    Don’t have one.

    That’s called freedom.

    • Impeach Biden

      September 23, 2021 at 12:22 am

      I agree with you and let’s apply that logic to wearing a mask.

  • Ron Ogden

    September 23, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Nonsense. The woman gets up and walks away. Some of them even go on to brag about it, as if it were some kind of horrendous butt lift. It is the baby that dies. Republicans believe in freedom. Let the babies be free to live.

  • Sister Connie de Francis

    September 23, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    “Some of them even go on to brag about it…”
    You’ve heard them do this? Or did one of your Facebook friends tell you this happens?
    Don’t make shit up.

    • Ron Ogden

      September 23, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      Twice I recall women telling me of other women who volunteered to them that they had multiple abortions.
      According to the Guttmacher Institute, 40% of abortions are second or third ones–or MORE.
      “In 2018, women who had not aborted in the past accounted for 60% of all abortions; women with one or two prior abortions accounted for 34%, and women with three or more prior abortions accounted for 6% (CDC).”
      Three or more? What is it, a competition?

Comments are closed.


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