Lawmakers moving forward with ‘abortion ban’ bills

Protesters at the Captiol on Tuesday. Photo courtesy: Talyor Berry

Banned from the Capitol for chanting “My Body, My Choice” during Rep. Erin Grall’s (R-Vero Beach) closing statement — when one protester was arrested — protesters were willing to do anything Tuesday to prevent representatives from voting yea on HB 5. It is also known as the abortion-banning bill.

However, the bill passed along party lines and went to the Senate, but that did not stop protesters. The Capitol saw an even bigger turnout Tuesday as people from various parts of Florida united to stand against HB 5 and SB 146.

Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani  was present and talked to protesters about how the bill is unjust.

“This is a bill that punishes Black and Brown people for being Black and Brown,” Eskamani said, causing the audience to speak in agreement. “We have to ensure that those are the stories that are heard and are the stories that are directly impacting people that we amplify because one in four American women had an abortion in this country and we have to make sure those folks are loved, empowered, and supported, not judged and shamed.”

Protesters at the Captiol on Tuesday. Photo courtesy: Talyor Berry

Also present was Sen. Shevrin D. “Shev” Jones, D-Miami Gardens. He said the bill was unfair for women and that legislators should “leave women alone.”

“I have always and I will always stand with women,” Jones said. “I have a good mother, I have a niece, I have a sister-in-law. But I have friends who are standing here today who have had an abortion. They’re not ashamed that they did. But I also have friends who are on the line every damn day like Anna Eskamani like Jasmine Rogers and like other women who stand here fighting for justice.”

HB 5 states that if the physician determines the fetus’ gestational age is more than 15 weeks, they are prohibited from performing the termination of pregnancy. However, if the pregnancy poses a threat to the woman’s life or a major bodily function (not a psychological condition), the bill requires two physicians to certify these conditions in writing.

Now, along with the serious threats the pregnancy can pose, if another physician is not available for consultation, then the initial physician can go on with the procedure. Another condition that enables the pregnant woman to have an abortion is if the fetus has a “fatal fetal abnormality,” then two physicians will need to certify that in writing.

So far, the bill has found favor in the Senate by the Appropriations Committee and is on calendar for a second reading.