TALLAHASSEE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) – In light of Texas’s historic heartbeat law prohibiting abortions in cases where a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, Florida is reportedly looking to follow suit, with two Republican lawmakers revealing that similar pro-life laws are underway in the Sunshine State.
Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) spoke to a Tampa-based radio station Thursday, stating that a Florida bill similar to Texas’s is “something we’re already working on.” Sen. Simpson was supported by Florida’s pro-life Gov. Ron DeSantis, who welcomed the Texas act and told journalists that he would examine the law, adding that he has “always been somebody that really does support protections for life.”
DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw confirmed to the Daily Caller that while the governor was open to similar legislation, he could not specify what form that would take in Florida, “because he needs some time to look into the new Texas law in more detail.”
The Texas Heartbeat Act became law September 1, surviving last-minute efforts by the abortion lobby to derail it. Signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott back in May, the act requires abortionists to screen for a preborn baby’s heartbeat and prohibits abortion if a heartbeat can be heard (generally as early as six weeks), with exceptions only for medical emergencies.
It “exclusively” empowers private citizens to bring civil suits against abortionists, punishable by a minimum of $10,000 in statutory relief per abortion plus whatever additional injunctive relief is deemed “sufficient to prevent the defendant from violating this chapter or engaging in acts that aid or abet violations of this chapter.”
The state Senate President continued: “As an adoptive child myself, it’s important to me that we do everything we can to promote adoption and prevent abortion; therefore, I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at the Texas law and see if there is more we can do here in Florida.”
Simpson was not alone in his comments, with Texas House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) also looking to spread Texas’s pro-life laws further afield. “In Florida, we agree that killing an innocent human being with a beating heart is wrong,” stated Sprowls.
“It is why we have worked every session to strengthen protections for unborn babies, including those for unborn children with disabilities last session, and it is why I am confident that those who share this moral view in the Florida House will continue the fight.”
33-year-old State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a long-time proponent of heartbeat bills in the state, supported his Republican colleagues.
“It’s time to start saving the lives of innocent unborn children in Florida,” Sabatini stated, while also accusing the Republicans in name only, RINO’s, of having “stopped progress every step of the way” in previous attempts at proposing a heartbeat law in the state.
Their stance is not without opposition. Florida State Sen. Linda Stewart released a statement attacking any such pro-life legislation as “misguided,” and an “intrusive and draconian restriction of women’s constitutional rights.”
“This is a direct attack on reproductive rights by leaders who care more about politics than the health and wellbeing of women,” she stated. “That should make all of us willing to fight…If Florida Republicans want to declare war on Florida’s women, we will be ready for the fight.”
So also spoke State Sen. Annette Taddeo (D-Miami), who accused the pro-life Floridan Republicans of removing the “rights of women to make their own health care choices,” and declaring that any such legislation would “give rapists the right to sue their victims to stop them from getting an abortion.”
LifeSiteNews contacted Gov. DeSantis, as well as Sen. Simpson and Speaker Sprowls for comment on the suggested pro-life legislation in Florida, but did not hear back by publication time.
Last summer, DeSantis signed into law a bill strengthening the state’s pro-life legislation, with Senate Bill 404 forbidding abortionists from going through with a minor’s abortion unless they receive a “notarized written statement signed by a minor and either her mother, her father, or her legal guardian” agreeing that “the abortion is in the best interest of the minor.”
The bill did, however, provide exemptions to the requirement in instances of a “medical emergency,” or if a judge found “clear and convincing evidence” of the minor’s maturity to make the decision herself, or else that a “preponderance of the evidence” indicated that her parents were sexually abusing her.
Mothers seeking an abortion in Florida are also required to have an ultrasound before proceeding with the abortion, and be offered the chance to view the scan of their child.
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute reported that as of the latest 2017 data, there were 85 abortion-providing facilities in the state, of which 65 were abortion clinics. The number had seen a decline from 86 facilities and 71 clinics in 2014.
Meanwhile, a 2019 poll conducted by the Susan B. Anthony List found that 76% of Florida voters supported a law prohibiting late-term abortions, while 73% supported legislation requiring parental consent before an abortion.