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Fla. Bill Redefining Fetal Viability Heads to Gov.

Fla. Bill Redefining Fetal Viability Heads to Gov.

June 9, 2014 — The Florida Legislature on Thursday sent more than 100 bills to Gov. Rick Scott (R), including one (HB 1047) that would increase abortion restrictions and two (HB 989, HB 7141) aimed at stemming human trafficking, WJXT reports.

Scott has 15 days to act on each bill. Any bills that he does not sign or veto will become law without his signature (Turner, WJXT, 6/5).

Abortion Bill Details

Florida law currently prohibits abortions after 24 weeks, or if a fetus is deemed "viable," defined as when a fetus has a reasonable chance of surviving outside of the womb.

The bill would change the definition of viable to mean that a fetus could survive outside of the womb with medical assistance. It also would require physicians to determine if a fetus is viable before an abortion.

The bill also would add new restrictions on abortions in the third trimester, which currently are only permitted to save a woman's life or preserve her health. Under the bill, an abortion in the third trimester would only be permitted to save a woman's life "or avert a serious risk of imminent substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition." This restriction would also apply to post-viability abortions (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/28).

Scott is expected to sign the bill, according to WXJT (WJXT, 6/5).