Florida House Passes Mandatory Paid Ultrasound Bill Despite Lockdown

The Florida House passed a bill requiring that all women seeking an abortion must show proof of rape or pay for an ultrasound before the procedure, despite the efforts of Democrats to block the bill from reaching the floor.

The bill, which many characterized as a “sneak attack” at the tail end of the legislative session, caused a great deal of division and vitriol in the House.

The abortion restriction, unveiled in the closing days of the 2010 legislative session, opened raw and emotional divisions among legislators as they prepared to leave Tallahassee for the summer. The debate was so heated and, at times, graphic, House Republican leaders ordered teenage pages off the House floor and cleared the public galleries of children. Two Democrats wept as they spoke against the ultrasound mandate.

Largely along party lines, the Republican-controlled House approved the abortion bill 76-44 Friday. The Senate had voted for the measure a day earlier, 23-16.

Opponents called the ultrasound mandate a government intrusion on a decision that should be left to women. “Stand down if you don’t have ovaries,” said Rep. Janet Long, D-Tampa.

The bill requires ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in their first trimester, when more than 90 percent of the procedures occur. Doctors or nurses also are ordered to describe the images on the sonogram and the stage of fetal develoment. Women must sign a form if they refuse to view the images.

Unlike the recently passed Oklahoma law, women who have been raped can opt out of the ultrasound if they can prove their attack, causing some to refer to it as the “proof of rape” bill.

It is now up to Governor Charlie Crist to decide to sign or veto the legislation.  Crist is currently running for the Republican nomination for the open Florida senate seat.

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  • joyand

    I guess women have to be raped also by the system! When it comes to abortion it should never have to do with politics at all. I should always be between a woman and her doctor. Men need to shut up and bow out of this situation. And I guess it is alright to make a woman have the baby so she can kill it later. All these A** H*L* men need to start adopting these babies if they don’t approve of abortion anyone amoung you should start adopting. How many babies have you adopted. After all it’s the mans laws and not womens laws that are intruding on a womens right to choose. A law like this will put the back street abortionist back in business. How many women died on bus stops back when they had to do it in the back allies of small towns in America? How many do not know of this time? Do your research. Laws have never stopped a women from doing what she had to do for herself.

  • mechashiva

    This isn’t a men-vs-women issue. It is not neccessary to have a penis to believe that abortion is wrong, just like it is not neccessary to have uterus to support the right to choose. The issue is quite a bit more complicated than that.

  • nichols

    Mecha Shiva – If you believe abortion is wrong, then don’t have one, but you and the state need to stay out of other peoples’ personal business.

    JoyAnd is correct.

    Abortion is a personal decision, regardless of age or gender and the legislators, who do happen to be predominantly male, are making laws against our bodies and against our RIGHT to personal privacy and decision-making.  (And the women who support these laws are just as misguided as the men who support them).

    Demanding an ultrasound for ANY woman seeking an abortion for ANY reason at ANY time is an invasion of her personal space and of her right to choose, guaranteed by Roe V. Wade.

    It is a HUMAN issue because it affects people – women and their families – when a woman’s right to access birth control is impeded by invasive laws which HURT people and their families.


  • mechashiva

    I am pro-choice, and I am a regular commenter on this site. You must be new.

  • educated-rants

    The most offensive part of this legislation? The bill would force all women to receive an ultra-sound, on her dime – $400, whether she refuses to see it or not. And unless she can show “proof of rape”, she will still have to listen. 


    “The measure requires women wanting an abortion to have an ultrasound, view it and listen to a medical professional’s description of the fetus from the ultrasound. It exempts women from viewing it if they sign a form saying they are not being coerced to have an abortion, and it exempts them from hearing about it if they can prove they were victims of rape, incest or other crimes. But any woman wanting an abortion would have to have, and pay for, the ultrasound.”



    Anti-choice Republicans found themselves backing away from this bill for obvious reasons: the government would literally be forcing women to have, and pay for, an unecessary medical procedure.


    But don’t worry; they passed $49 million in tax-breaks to yacht and jet buyers; increased state spending by about $4 billion, funded by Federal Stimulus aid; and college tuition is going up 8% while hospitals and nursing homes will see their funding cut 7%. 


    The Republican Party of Florida – force a 15 year old rape victim to be abused on more time, bill her $400 for it in the hopes she’ll “reconsider” while at the same time guarunteeing she won’t be going to college.