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Abortion Restrictions on the Fast Track

January 19th, 2022 by Mike Vasilinda

A controversial bill shortening the time period for a woman to have an abortion in Florida has cleared it first committee. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the The legislation is House Bill 5…its low number indicative of its importance to the House leadership.

The legislation shaves nine weeks off a woman’s right to legally abort.

“I think fifteen weeks is plenty of time for a woman to know she is pregnant” says Senate Sponsor Kelli Stargel.

The 15 weeks was chosen because a similar Mississippi statute is already awaiting validation or rejection by the US Supreme Court. Stargel says it also makes sense from the fetus’s development.

“I think recognizing that this is a baby and at fifteen weeks those babies have eyelashes, eyebrows, and fingers and all of those types of things. We want to make sure that If someone is going to make a determination, they make it early on, not later.”

Tampa Obstetrician Dr. Haywood Brown says while most women will know they are pregnant at 15 weeks, others will not.

“We still have a lot of women who do not seek care in the first trimester, so there’s a lot of denial.” 

Dozens of speakers were given just thirty seconds to make their case.

‘Life doesn’t begin at fifteen weeks, it begins at conception” said on man, while a woman opposed voiced her objections. This bill is a blatant attack on Floridians bodily autonomy” she told lawmakers.

Today’s hearing was the first of five. There will be two more in the House, two in the Senate.

Democrat Anna Eskamani says the quick scheduling of the bill in lawmakers second week is unusual.

“Florida Republicans are fast tracking this anti abortion bill” Eskamani told us.

She also knows she and fellow Democrats are outnumbered

“We can expect this bill to get to the House Floor.” Says the Orlando Democrat. “We’re going to do everything we can to amplify public opinion.”

The first committee approved the legislation on a party line vote.

The legislation also requires abortion providers monthly reports to include information about any pregnancy that occurred as a result of human trafficking.

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