On Monday, Florida’s House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 8-3 to advance legislation that would make performing an abortion or operating an abortion facility a felony. The bill stipulates that performing an abortion could be punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Rep. Charles Van Zant, sponsor of the legislation, explained, “The bill recognizes that both the mother and the baby are citizens of the state of Florida… and we are therefore compelled to protect their lives.”
Pro-choice members of the Florida House of Representatives, such as Rep. Dave Kerner, are criticizing the bill as an invasion of privacy, citing Roe v. Wade. “I think it’s clearly unconstitutional, I think it violates the rights of women on so many levels,” said Kerner.
Van Zant’s bill states, “personal liberty is not a license to kill or otherwise destroy any form of human life,” and argues that human life “begins at the earliest biological development of a fertilized human egg.”
In addition to Van Zant’s abortion ban, two other important pieces of pro-life legislation are in play in Florida. One would hold abortion centers to the same medical standards as surgical centers. Another would block state funding for facilities that perform elective abortions, set new requirements for inspections of abortion facilities, and require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges, as well as agreements to transfer patients to a hospital located within 30 minutes of the abortion facility.