Republican lawmakers want to change Florida’s abortion laws

Tallahassee’s Planned Parenthood clinic. Photo by Destiny Jackson

Roe v. Wade was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1973, legalizing abortion for women across the country.

Despite efforts by conservative organizations and right-to-life groups, the law remains in place.

But maybe not for much longer.

Texas has limited women to only six weeks before an abortion is illegal in that state, and the Supreme Court has refused to intervene. Mississippi is trying to enact restrictions as well, with a case that the Supreme Court is reviewing.

And, to no surprise, the Florida Legislature is set to hear bills that would align the state’s  more restrictive rules with those in Mississippi.

It is sure to be a hotly contested issue during this year’s 60-day legislative session, which got underway Jan. 11.

“The decision to have an abortion is personal and you’re the only one who can make it,” a Tallahassee Planned Parenthood staff member said.

Republican lawmakers in Florida want to enforce the motive to remove the delaying abortion procedures, limitations on public funding and the renewal of contracts within certain organizations that perform abortions under certain circumstances. The bills under consideration in both chambers would require the Agency for the Health Care Administration to review abortion clinic patient records. “It’s essential for women to have equity … Let her decision be equal to that of a man,” state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Miami, said in an interview with This Week in South Florida.

Book introduced the abortion clinic regulation bill to the state Supreme Court last October. In hopes of providing Florida with new restrictions, research and unbiased information regarding a woman’s body. Although the bill has been filed, the matter of abortion will be considered one of the heavily political campaign targets for this year’s legislative session and the upcoming mid-term elections.

A House panel is set to discuss another proposal that would prevent doctors from performing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The House Professions, Public Health & Human Services Subcommittee will be the first panel to review and consider the proposal.

The proposal would only include exceptions to the 15-week maximum to protect the lives of pregnant women and those at risk of serious substantial and permanent physical impairment to the body. Exceptions also could be made if doctors discover a fetus having fatal abnormalities.

There were an estimated 862,320 abortions performed in the U.S. in 2021, with71,050 of those taking place in the state of Florida. There was a 10% decline in the abortion rate between 2014 and 2017. Abortions in the state of Florida represent 8.2% of all abortions in the U.S., according to the pro-choice research organization, Guttmacher Institute.