Friday, March 1

Proposed bill would make abortions even more restrictive in Florida

How Florida women handle unwanted pregnancies is becoming an even bigger issue for politicians and potentially voters this election year.

As the legislative session gets underway, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have filed bills related to abortion rights.

Just days ago, abortion rights groups announced they have enough signatures to take the issue to voters in November.

While both sides gear up for Supreme Court hearings on the ballot language next month, lawmakers are busy filing bills on the controversial topic.

Republican Rep. David Borrero from Miami-Dade County started the legislative session with a move to make abortion even more restrictive in Florida.

The “Termination of Pregnancies” bill would remove exceptions for rape and incest and says “a person or an entity may not purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.”

“They don’t want us to have any say in our lives. That is not freedom. This is not the freedom state,” said Sheila Jaffe, the president of the Palm Beach County chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Jaffe expects to see more women involved in the democratic process this year with the abortion issue at the forefront.

“This is really important because this is women’s lives,” Jaffe said.

On the flip side of the aisle, Democrats filed the “Health Care Freedom Act,” which, among other things, would restore abortion access to the start of the third trimester.

“In a perfect world, I would love to see no abortions. But we live in a fallen world, not a perfect world. And so I’m realistic about that,” said Republican House Speaker Paul Renner.

Renner admits he doesn’t see the “Termination of Pregnancies” bill making it through this session.

“Right now, that’s not where I think a majority of Floridians would be, and I respect that. And I think we’re going to stay put with where we are,” Renner said.

Right now, Florida’s six-week abortion ban, which passed last year, is on hold while the state Supreme Court weighs a challenge to the current 15-week abortion ban.

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