Senator behind 15-week abortion bill: Bill doesn’t eliminate abortion rights
Kelli Stargel. Image via Colin Hackley.

Lawmakers aren't waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on Mississippi's abortion law.

At least one lawmaker backing legislation reducing the window for abortions in Florida says the proposal does not eliminate women’s abortion rights.

Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel, who on Tuesday filed the Senate bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks (SB 146), disagreed with opponents who say the bill takes away those rights entirely.

“I don’t believe that it does that at all,” Stargel said. “That woman has every opportunity within that first trimester to make the decision based on whatever criteria she sets for herself and deciding whether or not she wants to continue her pregnancy or whether she doesn’t.”

Stargel, who became pregnant with her first child when she was a teenager and decided to give birth to her daughter, told reporters she believes life begins at conception.

The end of the first trimester coincides with reveal parties, when some parents announce they are having a baby. Because people start going public then, the Senator said those behind the bill believed that was a good deadline.

The measure is also similar to Mississippi’s abortion law, which the U.S. Supreme Court is currently adjudicating. The court’s decision could overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Obviously if the Supreme Court comes out with something, we will adjust accordingly if necessary,” Stargel said. “But at this point, we’re doing what we think is best for the state of Florida and moving forward with our policies of what we think is best for our state.”

During his State of the State address on Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis mentioned support for strengthening protections for “the right to life.”

“I have not seen that particular one, but obviously I’m supportive of 15 weeks,” DeSantis told reporters Wednesday, referring to the Legislature’s abortion proposal. “I mean, I think that’s very reasonable and I think that’s very consistent with, you know, being supportive of protecting life.”

Vero Beach Republican Rep. Erin Grall is carrying the House version of the bill (HB 5), also filed Tuesday.

The legislation also includes other measures to reduce “fetal and infant mortality,” including creating fetal and infant mortality review committees.

“This bill is not necessarily a pro-choice or a pro-life bill,” Stargel said. “It is a bill that’s saying we support children, we support babies, born and unborn, to make sure that the state is focusing on that with our policies.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

One comment

  • Alex

    January 12, 2022 at 7:04 pm

    Define life lady.

    Is it consciousness? Is it self awareness? Is it the ability to think? Is it the ability to comprehend the consequences of actions, or the ability to weigh choices between two outcomes based on wants?

    Or does a magical sky fairy insert it at the instant of conception after bringing it from soul cold storage? Is it miraculously created just by the sperm popping through the egg wall because that’s what you were told in bible school?

    Facts? Evidence? Conjecture based on informed thinking?

    No lady, you may live in bible happy land, but the right of self determination must be based on knowable, quantifiable, TESTABLE reality available to everyone, not just special cases like yours.

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