Florida Governor Signs Bill Further Restricting Later Abortions

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law Friday that places additional restrictions on abortions performed in the third trimester, and bans abortions at any point in a pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus could survive outside the pregnant person’s body.

HB 1047 passed the state legislature mostly along party lines, advancing in the house by a 70-45 vote and in the senate by a 24-15 vote.

Current Florida law bans abortions after 24 weeks’ gestation, unless the life or health of the pregnant person is threatened. The new law narrows those exceptions, as well as removes mental health conditions from being considered among the exceptions. It also requires that two doctors certify in writing that this is the case (or one doctor has to certify that an additional doctor wasn’t available to consult). Additionally, doctors will need to determine whether a fetus is viable (able to live outside the womb through “standard medical measures,” in the bill’s language), and are forbidden from performing abortions on a viable fetus.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), said in a statement that the law places unnecessary restrictions on women’s access to later abortion care, without taking into consideration the woman’s unique and complex circumstances.

“Sadly, this is really about advancing an agenda of political interference with women’s decision-making,” said González-Rojas. “Despite continued attempts to legislate women’s health, this is not what we want. Personal medical decisions, like the decision to end a pregnancy, should be kept between a woman and her doctor.”

González-Rojas also addressed the law’s impact on Latina women. “Florida has one of the largest Latino populations in the U.S., and we know that Latinas are more likely than non-Latina white women to seek abortion care,” she said. “As a result, this law has the potential to affect the families and futures of many people in our community. That’s why NLIRH and our cadre of Florida activists will continue to fight for laws that protect and advance women’s reproductive health and human rights.”

The law will go into effect on July 1.

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  • purrtriarchy

    Because a couple of 21 weekers have survived, there is now a belief that 21 weeks = viability.

    • L-dan

      Yep. However, it’s not as if this law is going to consider early delivery to be the alternative to abortion; which would quickly show how incorrect they are and rack up enormous NICU bills with little to show for it.

      No, it will be “we say it’s viable despite available evidence, therefore you’re required to keep carrying it.”

      • Tanya Nguyễn

        I would also be curious what “can survive” means. A child with serious illness can “survive” outside of the womb for a day, or a week, or even a year – but the parents may think that the extreme stress on said dying child is not how they want their child to live.

        do they not have the right to make that critically personal decision?

        • Ella Warnock

          If they veer off the accepted “pro-life” path, then no, they do not. There’s only one way to handle this sort of thing, (according to anti-choicers) and that’s to inflict as much suffering on everyone involved as possible.

        • L-dan

          Of course they don’t. That’s God’s job.

          /bitter sarcasm

          That does highlight why I’m against legislating limits on abortion. For the handful of ‘tsk I don’t really agree with your reasons,’ abortions at this point, you’re creating tragedies for scores more people with wanted pregnancies gone wrong.

        • http://batman-news.com Mummel18000

          Not if “pro lifers” get it their way. A pregnant woman has no right to make any decisions – from conception she is state property, in their sick views.

        • Shan

          Parents are legally allowed to let their preemies or infants with serious illnesses die a “natural” death without taking any extraordinary life-saving measures.

          But they’re forced to have it be born first. I find that insane, and akin to torture of both the mother and the infant who has been sentenced to a short, extremely unpleasant life rather than allowing the mother to choose to end it peacefully before there’s any suffering. We treat our terminally ill pets better than this.

    • lady_black

      I say no 21 weekers have ever survived.

      • purrtriarchy

        In the cases that have made the news, do you think that the gestational ages were simply estimated wrong?

        • lady_black

          There was ONE case at 21 weeks and 5 or 6 days, and yes I do think they were wrong, or calculated from the (estimated) date of conception, which would translate to 23 weeks and 5 or 6 days.

          • purrtriarchy

            Ingrid Heimark is sooooo funny. Nothing but idiotic emotional arguments. Cjvg once tried to explain the concept of sentience to her but it went over Ingrid’s head.

          • Jen

            Actually, to be fair, the baby who survived at 21 weeks, 5 days was an IVF conception, so she (?) is one of the only cases where the gestational age was known to the hour. She was also INCREDIBLY lucky to have survived, and I’d guess nearly everyone knows of someone who delivered far later and didn’t have the same happy outcome.

          • lady_black

            Gestational age is calculated from the first date of the mother’s last menstrual period. I’m not an IVF expert, but I’m very sure that embryo transfer is calculated to be done at the time implantation is favorable in the mother’s cycle. So it amounts to the same mechanism. IF this were a pregnancy achieved by “natural means” the gestational age would still not be relevant to the exact date of conception. It does help me understand why they are claiming 21 weeks and 5 days, though. In real terms that STILL comes out to 23 weeks and 5 days. See the point?

          • Jen

            Ack. Duh. I was focused on the numbers, and forgot about the fudging done when fertilization can’t be nailed down precisely. My bad, you’re right. *facepalm*

          • lady_black

            Even in cases like you pointed out where the exact conception date is absolutely known, a pregnancy is calculated as 40 weeks from the LMP. We know she isn’t “actually pregnant” for those first 2-3 weeks, but it’s still the standard in determining gestational age. Don’t feel bad. A lot of people forget about that when dealing with IVF pregnancies. (Actual conception dates could have been YEARS ago, because they are sometimes prepared and frozen.)

      • Jennifer Starr

        These are the people who always claim that they know someone who was born at 18 weeks but is going to Yale now–they love to fabricate–lying for Jeebus.

        • purrtriarchy

          Wasn’t there a moron who posted here, claimed to be a nurse, and bragged about all of the 12 week preemies in xir ward?

          • fiona64

            Yes … and how the same thing had happened in her mother’s NICU ward, where she was allowed to just hang out as a child.

          • Jennifer Starr

            That lie had to be made up by a teen–mainly because it’s way too ridiculous for any adult to believe that a teenager would be allowed to hang out in the NICU and witness other women’s premature births. I think that ‘MaryB435’ was both mom and homeschooled teen taking turns posting various rubbish.

          • lady_black

            Possibly. But she’s a liar.

  • fiona64

    More politiicians practicing medicine without a license …

    • catseye

      An appallingly large number of right-wing Republican congress critters are actually failed doctors. (Rand Paul springs immediately to mind.)

      • fiona64

        IIRC, Rand Paul is/was an ophthalmologist … which means he is supremely *unqualified* to opine on anything except diseases of the eye.

        • catseye

          He’s not even qualified in his “specialty”. Remember how he had to form his own “certification board” even to practice ophthalmology?

  • Tanya Nguyễn

    Late term abortion is rare. It almost universally happens on WANTED babies where something has happened to the mother, the family, or the fetus. These are TRAGEDIES, not some mother forgetting to get around to her abortion the way you or I might forget to change the oil in our car.

    we should be offering help, hope and sympathy. not limiting the mother and family’s rights, emotionally and legally, to deal with a horrible situation.

    And by the way, you now need 2 doctors to say “it’s dangerous for the woman”. Why is the woman’s own voice not enough? If I feel that a 1 in 1000 risk is too much for me, and it’s my life after all, shouldn’t that be my very right? Why does a doctor have a right to over rule the risks I must take with my life?

    • purrtriarchy

      Cjvg and I are debating an asshat on alterney who believes in forced c sections. A woman’s right not to be mutilated or possibly die comes after fetal right yo life. He blithely dismisses the risks of c section. Yes, they are low, but they still exist. And even without risks, a c section = bodily mutilation.

      • catseye

        I’ve been following that exchange myself. The guy’s a total @sshat.

        • purrtriarchy

          Have you seen some of his analogies???

          Fetuses are viable like the rising sun!

          A woman who refuses a c section is euivalent to a faith healer denying their child a blood transfusion and/or just like an obese individual blocking a doorway in a burning house, causing children to die!!

          The risks of a c section can’t compete with the life of a viable (third tri) fetus

          If a woman is unconscious and the doctors have to do an episiotomy this is exactly like forcing a c section on an unwilling woman

          C sections aren’t really dangerous and women are stupid

          He does not want to force women to undergo c sections, he just thinks that they should face criminal prosecution if they refuse.

          Its just ¿??????? Stupid

          I am going to reply to him, but I need a break from the unbelievable idiocy.

          Oh yeah, almost forgot, but case studies of women dying from c sections don’t count, because xthey are “anecdotal”

          Asshat doesn’t even know his fallacies.