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Florida House Passes Sweeping Abortion Restrictions, Including 24-Hour Waiting Period

| March 1, 2012

The Florida House's retro idea of women.

A deeply divided Florida House voted Thursday to impose a 24-hour waiting period before women could get abortions and to place new regulations on abortion clinics.

The bill (HB 277) touched off heavy debate, with supporters arguing that life begins at conception and defending additional government involvement in abortion issues.

“It’s not intrusive to save a human being’s life,” said Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando. “It is heroic.”

But Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, described the bill as being part of an “insidious war against women.” She said the bill threatens women’s reproductive health and that limiting access to abortions could lead to a return of dangerous backroom procedures.

“Unfortunately, women’s health and women’s lives are at stake by doing this,” Schwartz said. “It will not stop abortions.”

The Republican-dominated House voted 78-33 to approve the bill, largely along party lines. Democrats voting for the bill were Rep. Leonard Bembry of Greenville; Rep. Daphne Campbell of Miami; Rep. John Patrick Julien of North Miami Beach; and Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg. Republicans voting against it were Rep. Kathleen Passidomo of Naples, and Rep. Ray Pilon of Sarasota.

It remains unclear whether the proposed changes will also get Senate approval. Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said the Senate version (SB 290) is only in its second committee, which procedurally does not put it in position for a floor vote.

“I’d have to get a feel for the (Senate) body” on the measure before deciding whether to consider it, Haridopolos said.

The House bill would make several changes, such as adding a requirement that abortions could not be performed until at least 24 hours after women meet with doctors to get information about the procedure.

Also, the bill would require that new abortion clinics be owned and operated by physicians. Bill sponsor Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, said this week that the state currently has 68 clinics, with only one owned and operated by a doctor.

The bill also would wade into a scientifically debated issue about when fetuses are able to feel pain. It would require doctors to tell women that fetuses can feel pain if they have reached 20 weeks of gestational development.

Critics said the bill was intended to impede the ability of women to get abortions. As an example, Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, said requiring a 24-hour waiting period would force women to make two trips to clinics, which could pose problems in finding transportation or being able to take time off work.

“A doctor — not the Legislature — needs to be able to make that decision,” Pafford said.

But supporters said the bill, in part, would help make sure women have time to make informed decisions about whether to end pregnancies. They also rejected arguments that the bill could jeopardize women’s health.

“This isn’t an insidious war against women,” said Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa. “It’s a righteous war for children.”

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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14 Responses for “Florida House Passes Sweeping Abortion Restrictions, Including 24-Hour Waiting Period”

  1. Tina says:

    Women need to stand up and fight this war!

    • BCH says:

      Very sad;
      Ladies , flood your legislators ‘ offices with calls; they pay attention to volume.
      As a retired R.N, I still remember the young women coming for treatment from damage done in ‘back room’ abortions .
      Sadly, some were left not able to have a future family.
      We just can’t go backward.

  2. Angela Smith via Facebook says:

    Florida’s lawmakers won’t be happy until they can strip women of ALL their hard-won rights; guess again, troglodytes! This is 2012, NOT 1812!

  3. Kari Anne via Facebook says:

    So basically all but one abortion clinic would shut down unless they find a doctor to own it? Wow.

  4. Yellowstone says:

    This is another distraction from the real issues at hand BTW.

    Good grief! What is wrong with these people? Is this the same bunch that wants to limit government intrusion into private lives? Aren’t they the ones that pull a temper tantrum when someone suggests “tax the rich” and ignore the poor? “Let them eat cake”.

    Folks, at the bottom of this issue it is really about money. For decades now these numbskulls have been worried about the massive number of abortions – and guess who has to pay for them?

    This is not a moral issue as much as it is about money – and who pays!

  5. slyfox says:

    okay….I am beyond furious, deep breathing is not helping…may need long periods of meditation. Their a bunch of crazy people. Soon women will not have any choices concerning their own body at all. Oh, and let me add what Rush Limbaugh had to say on he’s talk show…SICK SICK SICK…he is very scary because he has such a huge following. “What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.

    “She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.

    “The johns, that’s right. We would be the johns — no! We’re not the johns. Well — yeah, that’s right. Pimp’s not the right word.” then he also said this “So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.”

    Wonder if Rush takes Viagra, perhaps he can post his videos!

  6. palmcoaster says:

    These extreme xenophobic Repug-licans…forcing government intrusion on women’s private parts and decisions. Lets us all ladies remember well at the ballot box. The support and condoning of vulgar, racist bigots like Lymbaugh pundits, given by the ultra right, is shameful. This man should be sued and discharged from Clear Channel for utilizing the media to openly libel, insult and degrade a courageous young American woman speaking out for her rights. The extreme right is pushing us back to the 1950′s! Ladies, lets unite and stop them!
    I don’t about Rush, but Dole took and advertised TV Viagra. Any way who may want to get sick watching Rush sex-capades…?

  7. Kip Durocher says:

    These twisted bastards find out daddy banged mommie to make them and they can never, ever get over it.
    What is even sadder is the number of women who are conned into “god is a man who is replaced on earth by man to guide women.”
    Roughly half the world flipped over without much of a peep.

    Rush? First pills, then food. He is sporting a 30″ neck. Very, very sick man.
    If he had friends they would tell him to seek professional help before he kills himself.

  8. Lin says:

    How about both parties stay out of my medical and my spiritual life.

    It is so hypocritical of Republicans to talk about small government when they are insinuating themselves in the most intimate decisions putting all these restrictions like 24 hour notice and educating about “Pain”. I lived through those dark ages before reproductive rights and don’t want to see those abuses again.

    BUT — I think it is just as hypocritical of Democrats to speak about equal rights and separation of church & state and force religious institutions to provide healthcare options that goes against their moral code. Birth control is readily available and very cheap at Wallmart. Get real.

    Government shouldn’t be making ANY healthcare decisions for me & my family. That should be between me & my doctor. The healthcare bill is a nightmare that has caused more problems than it claims to solve.

  9. tulip says:

    I find it very discouraging and shameful that the government, presidential candidates and others are focusing on very private women’s issues that has NOTHING to do with running the country!

    Perhaps if all the people that are trying to force their own religious beliefs on everyone else put half as much good honest time into the running of our country in a fiscally sound manner, we would all be much better off.

    Somehow religion, abortion, etc. have become issues in running for office which is WRONG! The “government” doesn’t want to pay for abortions—-then they can support the unwanted children for 18 years. The really sad part is that so many unwanted children that were born succumb to being beaten, abused, abandoned or killed by one or both of its parents.

    I will never vote for ANY politician that wants to take women’s rights to personal choice away!

  10. Outsider says:

    It’s pretty interesting how the same people that think a three day waiting period to purchase a handgun is barely enough time to prevent the extremely unlikely killing of another human claim 24 hours is too much time to consider the definite killing of another human who’s only offense is not having taken that ten inch journey through the birth canal.

    • Yellowstone says:

      Also interesting these people take such intense interest in a human life when it is still in the womb, but it matters little to them if the human is incarcerated. Lethal injection is murder too !

      Seems like a double standard . . .

      (Ever wonder what one of these guys would do if it was their daughter or wife we were talking about . . . ?)

  11. Outsider says:

    Yellowstone, I will state the obvious for you: If a human being is still in the womb, it’s very unlikely it murdered anyone. If a human being has reached the stage of lethal injection, it is quite likely to have had innumerable opportunities to prove it’s innocence of murder and failed. Does that make sense to you?

  12. Pcmama says:

    To all the women angry about their (selfish) lack of choice- you DO have a choice- you have lots of choices. Most of the choices you make are wrong – and then you find out there is an innocent BABY on the way and this disturbs you. Why? Because you know you messed up but you are going to make the baby pay for your mistake? Does that make sense ? If the child were one year old should I still be allowed to kill it?? What if I want to take my dream job but they don’t hire moms? What if my new boyfriend wishes I didn’t have kids? What is the difference between murdering a 3 month old baby or a year old one?? When will people wake up and end this holocaust against babies??

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