Florida’s House passed H.B. 1221 today by a vote of 77-44 and will now advance to the Florida Senate. The bill would ban discriminatory abortions on babies diagnosed prenatally with certain disabilities. According to a previous report from Live Action News, the bill “states that physicians are prohibited from ‘performing or inducing, or attempting to perform or induce, disability abortion.'”
To benefit families dealing with the unknowns surrounding such a diagnosis, the state Department of Health would be required to publish education information regarding some of the more commonly diagnosed genetic conditions. Many families have expressed feeling overwhelmed at receiving a diagnosis, and some have explained that their health care providers pressured them to abort their children.
As noted in Live Action News’ previous coverage, “disability” in the bill includes “any physical, mental, or intellectual disability, a physical disfigurement, dwarfism, albinism, missing limbs, physical or mental disease, scoliosis, or Down syndrome,” but conditions considered “lethal” are excluded. Unfortunately, “lethal” is a broad term and can even include conditions which shorten a life span but do not result in immediate death.
Unfortunately, according to media reports, the bill may not pass the Senate. MSN reports, “The bill passed by the House, House Bill 1221, almost certainly won’t become law this year. The measure’s Senate companion, Senate Bill 1664, was never heard in a committee.”
A press release from the Susan B. Anthony List notes that polling has revealed “70% of Americans – including 56% of those who identify as pro-choice, 59% of Democrats, and 70% of Independents – oppose abortion based on the expectation that an unborn child may have Down syndrome.”
SBA List’s State Policy Director Sue Liebel stated, “Florida is a strongly pro-life state, and its legislators are right to prioritize babies diagnosed with a disability, who are all too frequently targeted for lethal discrimination before they are given a chance at life outside the womb.”
According to MSN, Republican State Rep. Tyler Sirois “argued the fascist 20th-century German party would have approved of ‘disability abortions,’ stating, “The Nazis had a phrase for this. They called it ‘life unworthy of life.’”
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