By Dave Andrusko
Florida continued today its aggressive campaign to protect unborn babies when both the state House and state Senate introduced bills to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
State Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka and state Sen. Erin Grall introduced the legislation in their respective chambers. The lawmakers filed the bills on the first day of the 2023 legislative session.
“The proposed 6-week ban already has the support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said during his Tuesday state of the state speech in Tallahassee that ‘we are proud to be pro-family and we are proud to be pro-life,’” according to POLITICO’s Arek Sarkissian. “He told reporters after his address that he would sign the abortion bill into law.”
Sarkissian added, “The governor last year also supported the state’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy and, after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, said that Florida would expand ‘pro-life protections.’”
The state Supreme Court has before it a challenge to the state’s 15-week ban. HB 5, or the Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality bill, took effect in July.
It’s been challenged on various grounds. One is “Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue the 15 week ban violates a state privacy clause that the Florida high court had previously cited to strike down abortion bans,” Sarkissian explained.
A second line of attacked was addressed just this week. Judge Michael Hanzman denied a request to temporarily block Florida’s HB5. Nancy Flanders wrote [https://www.liveaction.org/news/judge-refuses-block-florida-15-week-protections]
The ruling comes after seven clergy members, including Rabbi Gayle Pomerantz, sought the injunction out of a supposed fear that under the law they will be criminally prosecuted if they advise their congregants to have an abortion or accompany them to one. They also claimed that the law violates their religious freedom and speech and that it was too vague.
“The plaintiffs in these consolidated actions are under no immediate and ongoing risk of prosecution,” Judge Hanzman said in his ruling. He added, “The court finds these particular plaintiffs do not face any threat of prosecution, let alone a credible one
Were Florida to enact HB5, it would join six other states that have already approved 6-week bans. Those six are Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota and Oklahoma.
“The bill also provides up to $30 million for the Florida Department of Health to create a statewide parenting support network,” Sarkissian wrote. “The network would beef-up state-funded services already offered to pregnant people by expanding resources to those who gave birth within one year. The measure also prohibits doctors from using telehealth services to consult with patients about treatment with abortion medications.”