Fla. House Approves Antiabortion Bill, but Senate Prospects Uncertain

March 5, 2012 — The Florida House on Thursday approved a bill (HB 277) that would mandate a 24-hour waiting period before abortion care and impose new regulations on abortion providers, the Palm Beach Post reports (Kam, Palm Beach Post, 3/1). The bill passed 78-33, largely along party lines (Saunders, Fort Myers News-Press, 3/1).

The bill would require that abortion clinics be owned by physicians who specialized in abortion care during residency, ban abortion providers from advertising and require doctors to tell women seeking abortion care that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks of gestation, a notion that is disputed by the scientific community. According to the Post, the Supreme Court struck down a ban on advertising by abortion providers more than 30 years ago (Palm Beach Post, 3/1).

Another provision in the measure would require the state Agency for Health Care Administration to collect data on every abortion procedure, including length of gestation and the patient's age, race, marital status, number of live births, any previous abortions and hometown. The data would be posted on a public website and submitted to the federal government. Rep. Lori Berman (D) suggested that the data could be used to identify women from small towns.

A similar measure in the Senate (SB 290) has stalled in committee and is not scheduled to be reconsidered (Sanders, AP/Miami Herald, 3/1).