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Abortion bills go to front of the line for Florida Republicans

A mandatory-ultrasound bill is not the only Republican proposal that seeks to restrict abortion rights sure to come up in the state legislature during its upcoming session — limiting access to abortion is clearly a top priority for GOP legislators. #

Republicans have filed at least five bills in the Florida House of Representatives that would limit or prohibit access to abortion: #

  • Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka has filed the ”Florida for Life Act,” which “prohibits induced abortions” and “prohibits operation of facility for purpose of providing abortion services.” Van Zant is not new to this type of legislation — in 2010 he filed the same bill, which later died in committee.
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, filed House Bill 97, which “prohibits use of state or federal funds to provide coverage for abortions in exchange created for the Affordable Care Act.”
  • Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, filed “Infants Born Alive,” which states that an “infant born alive subsequent to abortion is entitled to same rights, powers, & privileges as child born alive in course of birth that is not subsequent to abortion.”
  • Plakon has also filed House Joint Resolution 1, which proposes that the legislature place an amendment on Florida ballots that, if passed, would “prohibit laws or rules from compelling any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system,” a challenge to President Obama’s health care reform legislation. The Senate version of this bill, the Health Care Freedom Act, was passed by the Senate budget committee today. Plakon has also supported public funding for private anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers that distribute biased information about the link between abortion and negative mental health outcomes.
  • Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, has filed a law governing the state’s “Choose Life” license plates, that would provide for annual fees to be given to Choose Life, Inc., rather than counties. State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, sponsored the Senate version of this law. The Florida Independent reported that the Florida ACLU says this law could eventually help fund anti-abortion propaganda.
  • The Independent has also been reporting on House Bill 321, the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” filed by Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami. The law restricts abortion beyond 20 weeks. Stephanie Kunkel, executive director of Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, has said that, given the current legislative climate, this bill has a good chance of passing.

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