Fla. House Subcommittee Advances Three Antiabortion Measures, Delays a Fourth Bill

March 29, 2013 — Florida House subcommittees on Wednesday approved three antiabortion-rights measures, while a fourth bill -- which would effectively ban most abortions -- appears to have stalled, the Sunshine State News reports. All four of the bills have companion measures in the Senate, according to the Sunshine State News.

Three Antiabortion Bills Advance

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted along party lines to advance the first measure (HB 845), which would require abortion providers to sign affidavits stating that they are not performing an abortion based on the sex or race of the fetus. State Rep. Charles Van Zant (R) -- the bill's sponsor -- said the measure is needed to protect against racial and sexual discrimination (Giunta, Sunshine State News, 3/28).

However, state Rep. Irv Slosberg (D) called the bill "another attempt to chip away at access by calling into question every woman who makes a deeply personal medical decision" (Schreiner, AP/Miami Herald, 3/27).

The second measure (HB 759) -- sponsored by state Rep. Larry Ahern (R) -- would create a separate offense for criminal acts that result in harm to an "unborn child" at any point in pregnancy beginning at conception.

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee approved a third bill (HB 1129) that would require doctors to provide reasonable medical treatment and health care if an infant is born alive after an attempted abortion procedure (Sunshine State News, 3/28). They must also arrange for transport to a hospital. State Rep. Cary Pigman (R), the bill's sponsor, said it is "intended to guarantee all respect and humanity to an infant that's born alive, regardless of how it entered the world."

Judith Selzer of Planned Parenthood said the bill "attempts to intimidate doctors, health care practitioners and even doctor's office employees" (Schreiner, AP/Miami Herald, 3/27).

Fourth Bill Stalls

Meanwhile, a fourth bill (HB 395) that would have banned abortions in Florida unless a woman's life is in danger or her health is at "serious risk" appears to have stalled in the House Judiciary Committee. According to the Sunshine State News, the bill's sponsor has introduced it every legislative session since 2010 (Sunshine State News, 3/27).