Lawmakers in Texas earlier this week approved a ban on abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected. The new Texas law has prompted Republican leaders in Florida to announce that they will work on stricter abortion laws when they meet next year.
Their statements Thursday and Friday sparked worry among women in Florida and some of the Legislature’s Democrats.
“I feel nervous, I feel scared about what could come from that and how many women’s freedom and autonomy is at risk with this bill,” said Lawrencia Palmer, a junior at Florida A&M University.
The bill that Texas passed prohibits the procedure being performed at six weeks. It also gives residents ammunition to sue those who violate the prohibitions. Six weeks is very early in a pregnancy and most women do not know that they are pregnant until shortly after or during this time. This puts an intense amount of pressure on a woman to make a decision in such little time.
Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson has confirmed that the Legislature will be considering an abortion bill similar to what Texas has enacted. Simpson views the Texas law as “a new approach” and is encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court not blocking Texas’ efforts.
“As an adoptive child myself, it’s important to me that we do everything we can to promote adoption and prevent abortion; therefore, I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at the Texas law and see if there is more we can do here in Florida.” Simpson said in a release.
Simpson is adamant about more options being available than abortions. He pushes for more adoption and also supports funding for options like Hormonal Long Acting Reversible Contraception, which prevents unplanned pregnancies that lead to abortions.
“I’m pro-life. I welcome pro-life legislation.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday.
The comments by Simpson and DeSantis have raised concern and questions. It introduces the idea of whether or not those in power are sensitive and educated enough about a woman’s body. What does this mean for rape and incest victims?
Some women believe that all it does is take away their choices. It also gives them another reason to not trust those placed in power over their basic human rights.
“This is just another way for the men in power to control women and their bodies,” said Zion Afolabi, a junior at FAMU.
Afolabi believes that stopping abortions doesn’t put an end to them. It just forces women to find illegal and dangerous ways to get rid of their child, she said.
“We think we’ve taken one step forward with the feminism, womanism movement. We have not,” Palmer said.
If Florida decides to move forward with stricter anti-abortion bills next year, many women could be affected by it. These include women who are struggling financially to bear a child, victims of rape and incest, and women who are just not ready to raise a child.