At least a 100 people filled a committee room in the state Capitol Wednesday to speak about a proposed 15-week abortion ban that, if approved, could change the landscape for women’s reproductive rights.
It was the first hearing on the ban, and the vote Wednesday was 12 to 6 in favor of the legislation called HB 5. Five Democratic women lawmakers and one male lawmaker, Democrat Michael Gottlieb, voted against the bill. The others were Republicans and they voted yes.
The vote came following emotional, angry and passionate words in the audience and at the subcommittee meeting table, where lawmakers had to make decisions based on dramatically opposite views.
Republican State Rep. Erin Grall, sponsor of HB 5, shared that her own sister had gotten an abortion, and called the tens of thousands of Florida abortions in 2020 an atrocity. Grall represents Indian River and and part of St. Lucie County. Grall has shepherded other abortions bans, including a law in 2020 that requires parental consent for minors getting abortions.
Democrat Anna Eskamani of Orlando said the HB 5 bill is not moderate — it is extreme.
“There is no is such thing as a reasonable abortion ban,” she said.
She added: “It is the beginning of a rapist bill of rights.”
One man, Brian Perras of Pasco County, was told to leave the committee room after using the phrase “exterminating the Negro population.”
But several dozens got in line to share their views.
The bill would prohibit abortions “if the physician performing abortion determines the gestational age of the fetus is more than 15 weeks, based on the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period,” according to a legislative analysis.
The bill is similar to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court following oral arguments in December.
There are two more steps that need approval before it goes to the full House floor for consideration. Also, the Senate would have to approve the legislation.
Democrat State Rep. Michele Rayner of St. Petersburg, said, “this bill adversely affects people who look like me.”
She also said, “It adversely effects people who may not have the means to get an abortion because we know this, people who have means will always find a way to have an abortion.”
Republican State Rep. David Borrero, of South Florida, said, “The time is now for Florida’s laws to reflect the realities of modern science. Humanity of a 15-week-old child in the womb is undeniable.”
Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said in statement.
“Today, Republicans in the Florida House cast what could end up being the first votes on the way to banning abortion in our state. This is not what most Floridians want. In fact, this legislation is nothing more than a blatant attempt to advance a political agenda over sound science and medicine…
“Alarmingly, this bill also provides no exceptions for when a person is raped, even if they are a minor, and only very limited exceptions for when the pregnant person learns that there are serious fetal anomalies. In these situations, it is crucial for a pregnant person to have the opportunity to think through their options based on their unique situation in consultation with people they trust, including their physicians, loved ones, counselors, religious leaders, and others – but not politicians.
“This bill poses a serious threat to reproductive health, ignoring a pregnant person’s individual needs and circumstances. It is no surprise that doctors oppose abortion bans because they prevent health care providers from giving their patients the best health care possible in an individual situation – a right we all deserve to have.”
The legislative analysis reports that in 2020, there were 209,645 live births in Florida. That same year, there were 72,073 abortions performed in Florida.
Of those 72,073 abortions, the vast majority — 70,594 — were performed in the first trimester, meaning 12 weeks and under. Only 4,274 abortions were performed in the second trimester, meaning 13 to 24 weeks. No abortions were performed in the third trimester, according to the analysis.
–Imani Thomas and Issac Morgan, Florida Phoenix
And women continue to vote for Repubs. I don’t understand why. I believe the Repubs. are trying to run our lives. Let women alone let them decide what is right for them, it is bad enough the Repubs are in our pocket books, now they are getting in our bedrooms. Who in right mind would vote for a Repub. O.K. women continue to vote for them soon they will tell you how to spend your money and when you can have sex, keep voting for them and soon they will take away your voting rights.
Nancy N. says
If only the GOP were so concerned about the welfare and safety of children that have actually been born.
Quality of Life says
I would like to thank all those anti-abortion folks in advance, who will be adopting all the babies from women that were forced to carry the pregnancy.
Obviously, I am being sarcastic, because you only care about a fetus, once it is born you right wing nuts could care less about the children.
David Schaefer says
Let all woman choose period…….
There will be a carve out allowing abortion for impregnated mistresses of elected officials.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
Do they spontaneously become pregnant?
Does the baby father have a say?
Do the grandparents of the child have a say?
Don’t trust a third party like Planned Parenthood, they don’t have a vested interest.
Don’t trust the school administrators they they don’t have a vested interest either.
Pierre Tristam says
By all means, let’s trust politicians on uterine ownership and morality.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Oh Pierre .. Thank you for my laugh of the day. I am so glad I am an NPA.. This ‘Freedom’ chant about not being forced to get your arm pricked by something that is meant to help you while at the same time being prohibited from being master of your body is beyond insanity.
With all due respect however as a Roe V Wade supporter as it has been we must admit times have changed dramatically since 1974:
Back in the 70’s home pregnancy test kits did not exist –
The internet was not available to turn to in an instant to anyone who can read to ask questions about pregnancy including addresses and phone numbers of not costly clinics- Everything about pregnancy ‘ out of wedlock’ was shhshh. Scared to tell your parents was nunber 1. Where do you go? who knew? Who do you confess to? Who knew?
So my thought today is I agree , yes, that in today’s world there is no excuse in this world NOT to know you are pregnant way before 15 weeks ; there is no reason whatsoever that a normal functioning female should not know if they are pregnant by week 15 *** UNLESS YOU ARE A MINOR, MENTALLY NOT NORMAL,
OR TOO PETRIFIED to tell someone it’s your Daddy or that your parent’s best friend in the world is the daddy.
However, any human being who refuses to make an EXCEPTION for RAPE or INCEST should be forced to pay all the expenses of the expectant mother through her delivery and forced to personally adopt and raise that child including all medical expenses until that child becomes of age – or should be removed from the legislature as being mentally incompetent and unfit for public office,
What Else Is New says
Please, Timothy. Does the rapist have a say? Does the incest abuser have a say? Get real. These circumstances demand abortions to be allowed. In fact, no one but the pregnant person should be the abortion decision maker. How dare the politicians take possession of a women’s right to choose. Thank goodness for Planned Parenthood.
Actually, in Alabama both rapists and those guilty of incest do, in fact, have a say.
TPW. . . Women are subjected to RAPE and INCEST each and every day. Meanwhile, some religions do not allow birth control pills, and priest require that wives “submit” to the lust of their husbands. Generally, most Republicans are pro-fetus NOT pro-life because they completely against social programs that provide for free birth control/food stamps/welfare, etc.
Again, unless you evolve to the point that you grow in intelligence, have a uterus and are subjected to the responsibilities of being pregnant/giving birth/ supporting a child for 20+ years. . . you have NOTHING credible to say on the subject!