Florida lawmakers advanced HB 7 on March 16, a bill that would protect most preborn children from abortion after six weeks gestation. The bill would also prohibit the use of state funds for abortion travel and reaffirm in-person distribution for abortion pills. The proposal advanced its initial committee with a vote of 13-5 along party lines.
Florida law allows abortions through 15 weeks, though that law is currently being considered by the state Supreme Court due to a lawsuit. According to the Associated Press, the proposed six week law would only take effect if the 15-week law is upheld. This legislation would allow exceptions to save the life of the mother (though an induced abortion intentionally and directly killing a preborn human is never medically necessary) and in cases of rape and incest. In those instances, the woman must provide documentation to verify the abuse, such as a medical or police report.
“This bill is too restrictive. The amount of paperwork that a woman has to go through to show that they are raped is retraumatizing,” said Rep. Robin Bartleman. But while rape is unmistakably traumatic, so too is abortion — and women have often spoken of how abortion doesn’t erase the original trauma of the rape, but only compounds it.
“My personal belief is that life begins at conception,” said Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, the bill’s sponsor. “There is no greater purpose that drives me than giving every child an opportunity to be born and an opportunity to live,” she said.
“It’s a bill that recognizes the importance and value of the life of innocent, unborn human beings,” said added. “The bill that’s before you is not solely a reflection of my personal beliefs, but a result of listening in an attempt to build consensus around a policy that supports life.”
HB 7 needs to clear one more committee before it is taken up by the full House. A similar bill is also scheduled for hearings in Senate committees this week.
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