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Florida introducing Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

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Movement to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is picking up momentum. Ohio passed its version–SB 127–last month, raising to 15 the number of states that ban abortions performed on pain-capable unborn children. This week Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed his state’s bill, increasing the number to 16.

Over the weekend, Florida newspapers reported that two Sarasota legislators filed HB 203, the Florida Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

I just can’t imagine a baby having to feel pain and going through this,” Sarasota state Rep. Joe Gruters, who is sponsoring the bill along with Sarasota state Sen. Greg Steube, told Zac Anderson, political editor for the Gainesville Sun. “This is an issue that I feel passionately about.”

The first Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed in Nebraska in 2010. Since that time, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have passed this important pro-life measure, based on model legislation provided by National Right to Life.

According to the Miami New Times, the bill counters the notion that the unborn child is not capable of experiencing pain by the 20th week.

The “assertion of some medical experts that an unborn child remains in a coma-like sleep state that precludes it from experiencing pain is inconsistent with the documented reaction of unborn children to painful stimuli and with the experience of fetal surgeons who have found it necessary to sedate an unborn child with anesthesia to prevent it from thrashing about in reaction to invasive surgery.”

The bill has widespread public support. A poll taken election day by The polling company, inc./WomanTrend found almost two-thirds support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Sixty-four percent were in favor to only 28% who were opposed.

The House of Representatives passed the measure on May 13, 2015, by a vote of 242-184. However pro-abortion Democrats stymied the bill in the Senate.

Among his commitments to pro-lifers, pro-life President-elect Donald Trump has promised to sign the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Florida’s introduction of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act represents a significant development in the ongoing national debate surrounding abortion rights and fetal pain. The proposed legislation aims to prohibit most abortions in Florida after the point at which a fetus can potentially experience pain, typically around 20 weeks gestation.

The rationale behind such legislation lies in the argument that fetuses are capable of feeling pain at this stage of development, thus warranting legal protection from elective abortions. Proponents of the bill assert that it is a crucial step in safeguarding the rights and well-being of unborn children.

Opponents, however, argue that such laws restrict women’s reproductive rights and interfere with their ability to make personal medical decisions in consultation with their healthcare providers. They often contend that the determination of fetal pain capability is complex and not universally agreed upon within the medical community.

The introduction of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in Florida reflects broader efforts across various states to enact similar legislation aimed at limiting abortion access based on gestational age. These initiatives are frequently influenced by political, religious, and ethical considerations, with supporters framing them as measures to protect the sanctity of life and opponents viewing them as encroachments on women’s autonomy and bodily integrity.

The potential passage of this act in Florida would not only impact access to abortion within the state but could also have wider implications, potentially leading to legal challenges and shaping the national discourse on abortion policy.

As the debate unfolds, stakeholders on both sides will continue to engage in advocacy efforts, legal battles, and public discourse, reflecting the deeply held convictions and divergent perspectives surrounding the complex issue of abortion rights in the United States.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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