April 3, 2015 — A Florida House committee on Wednesday voted 12-5 to advance a bill (HB 633) that would implement a 24-hour mandatory delay period before a woman can have an abortion, Capitol News/WCTV reports.
The bill, which had previously received approval from two other state House committees, now heads to the full chamber for consideration (Capitol News/WCTV, 4/1). Meanwhile, the state Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday advanced a companion bill (SB 724). The bill must be approved in two more state Senate committees before it can go to the full chamber (Stapleton, Palm Beach Post, 4/1).
Bill Details, Debate
The bill, filed in the state House by state Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R), would require women to meet face-to-face with a physician and receive information about abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/16).
Sullivan during a public hearing on the measure on Wednesday said that it would help women make an informed decision about getting an abortion.
However, Melissa Madera, director of the Abortion Diary Podcast, said the bill's effect would be to "demea[n] women" and "creat[e] a culture of shame around an abortion." According to Madera, about 70% of Florida counties do not have an abortion provider (Menzel, News Service of Florida/Orlando Sentinel, 4/1).
Madera added that women who are seeking to have an abortion have "already thought about it" and "don't need 24 hours to wait" (Capitol News/WCTV, 4/1).
State Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D) offered an amendment to the Senate bill that would have authorized physicians to provide information about abortion electronically, rather than in person.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Lori Berman (D) proposed an amendment to the House bill on Wednesday that would have allowed advanced nurse practitioners, registered nurse practitioners, registered nurses or physician assistants to provide the information in a physician's stead.
However, both amendments failed. According to the Palm Beach Post, Sobel and Berman both oppose the underlying legislation (Palm Beach Post, 4/1).