Legislation on post-abortion lawsuits passes House Committee

Photo: Wolfgang Moroder / CC BY-SA 3.0
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
February 9, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Women who suffer emotional stress or injury during an abortion could sue their doctor as late as ten years after the procedure under legislation approved by a House Committee in the State Capitol today. Current law allows just a two-year window for malpractice.

Of the 70,000 Florida women who have abortions each year, an estimated 1,800 have minor complications. But freshman lawmaker Erin Grall says she’s spoken to women who didn’t know they had a problem until years later.

"This is especially true of the psychological issues which may develop over time, or be underlying and triggered by a later event in life," Rep. Grall says.

One of the first questions death with the uncertainty of allowing a lawsuit ten years later. That’s eight years after the statute of limitations has run.

Rep. Barbara Watson asks, "Are we talking about every doctor’s lifetime savings are now vulnerable to a lawsuit?"

The National Organization for Women and other opponents waived their testimony, "We waive in opposition to this legislation."

But the groups picked up two unlikely allies-- insurance companies and doctors.

Insurance lobbyist Mark Delegal says, "This is bigger than the abortion issue, ladies and gentleman. This is a malpractice bill that indicts the current system."

A Tampa woman came with her own story of an abortion.

Choice advocate Erin Foster said, "I made a difficult choice and I had an abortion. And despite growing up in a time and a place with people who think abortion is the ultimate sin, I don’t regret it."

"The bill passes," the committee announced.

Foster says there are no scars.

"I have thrived ever since," Foster says.

Federal courts have already stopped last year's abortion law from requiring women to make two visits to a clinic before a procedure. It too was sponsored by a freshman lawmaker, a practice known as 'carrying water' for leadership.

An OBGYN from the University of Central Florida told committee members on Thursday that having an abortion is no more dangerous than carrying a baby to full term.



 
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