Florida Republican introduces bill to ban virtually all abortions

Image via Shutterstock/fitzcrittle

By Giselle Balido

January 9, 2024

Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani called the proposed measure “extreme and unhinged.”

A Republican lawmaker on Monday filed a bill to ban virtually all abortions in Florida, a move that would further restrict women’s reproductive freedom less than a year after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban into law.

Rep. David Borrero, R-Sweetwater, filed House Bill 1519, a bill that includes no trimester limits for the restriction, effectively making it a total abortion ban from the moment of fertilization.

Borrero’s proposal states that “a person or an entity may not purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.”

According to the text of the bill, “medical emergency” means “an emergent physical condition in which an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”

The exception also applies to minors.

RELATED: ‘It’s a Scary Time’: Florida Democrats Are Fighting Back Against Six-Week Abortion Ban

Under the bill, the penalty for “performing or attempting to perform an abortion” would be a third-degree felony, subject to as much as 10 years in prison or with a fine of up to $100,000, “or both.” The measure, however, would target physicians who perform abortions, and not the women who get them.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, issued a strong response to the proposal, calling it “extreme and unhinged and not what the majority of Floridians want.”

“Florida Republicans continue to show us just how far they are willing to go with the filing of HB1519, a total abortion ban,” Eskamani said in a written statement. “This policy proposal eliminates what are already narrow exceptions for rape and incest and would force Floridians into pregnancy.”

Most abortions in Florida are currently banned after 15 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest under a law signed by DeSantis in 2022. A lawsuit challenging that law is currently before the Florida Supreme Court. If the court affirms the 15-week ban, DeSantis’ six-week ban with exceptions for rape and incest would go into effect 30 days later.

If the court upholds the 15-week ban and Borrero’s bill is signed into law, it would supersede the six-week ban and take effect 30 days after the court’s decision. Alternatively, it would also go into effect 30 days after a court decision that finds that the Florida Constitution’s right to privacy does not protect abortion.

Fighting for choice

In response to Florida’s anti-choice stance, Eskamani and Democratic Rep. Shevrin Jones have filed two billsHouse Bill 1283 and Senate Bil 1404, respectively— that if passed would restore access to abortion up to the start of the third trimester, in essence reversing Florida’s current 15-week abortion ban and the potential six-week ban. Neither bill is likely to even receive a vote in the Republican-dominated legislature.

As we organize on the ground in defense of reproductive freedom, we must continue to fight like hell in the chamber. Floridians deserve the ability to make personal and private decisions about their future and we will not stop fighting until that vision is the reality for all,” Eskamani added in her statement.

The more likely path to restoring abortion rights in Florida hinges on the outcome of another state Supreme Court case.

Floridians Protecting Freedom, a group attempting to get an abortion rights amendment on the Nov. 2024 ballot, last week announced that it has gathered 910,946 valid signatures — more than the 891,523 needed — to place their proposed amendment on the ballot. But the measure still needs to have its ballot language approved by the Florida Supreme Court, and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has asked the court to strike down the measure.

RELATED: Florida abortion rights amendment gets enough signatures for 2024 ballot

If the amendment makes the ballot, it must win at least 60% of the vote to secure passage.

An early 2023 University of North Florida (UNF) poll showed 75% of Floridians opposed a six-week abortion ban, with 62% opposing it “strongly.”

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

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