From our Legislation Director, Jim Bonfiglio:
The latest on abortion rights in Florida: The House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee advanced HB 5, a 15-week ban on most abortions on a 12-6 party-line vote in the first legislative debate on the controversial bill. The bill now heads to its next two hearings in the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and Health & Human Services Committee. Fla. Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) offered its companion bill in the Senate, SB 146 on January 11. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill seek to shorten the state’s legal window to seek out and receive an abortion, as well as defining and codifying the different types of recognized abortions. Florida presently recognizes the legal right to an abortion up to the 24th week of pregnancy. Rep. Grall, the House bill’s sponsor, said abortion needs to be limited because medicine and science have changed since the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. “This is not an abortion ban,” she said. “This is about 15 weeks. This is about having all your available options at the ready for you for 15 weeks.” But Democrats said it would interfere with what should be a private medical decision and particularly hurt low-income women and people of color who lack access to health care. Both HB 5 and SB 146 modeled the 15 week abortion ban after the Mississippi bill, which is currently before the US Supreme Court.