Six-week abortion bill moves forward in Florida House

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:07 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A six-week abortion ban bill is moving forward in the Florida House, bringing it one step closer to becoming law.

On Thursday, a subcommittee approved HB7 in a 13-5 vote along party lines. They made the decision after about an hour of public comment.

Dozens of people traveled from across the state to voice their opposition to the bill.

“If you vote yes on this bill, you’re actively killing people and ruining lives,” one woman said during public comment.

Some spoke out in favor of the bill.

“If Texas and a dozen other states can make their states abortion-free, there is no reason why Florida cannot do the same,” said one supporter.

Three Democrats introduced amendments to soften the bill’s impact, but all three were rejected.

One would have removed the six-week ban entirely. Another would have required just one physician to certify that an abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life. The current bill requires two physicians to sign off.

The last amendment would have made it easier for victims of rape or incest to qualify for an exemption. As is, the bill requires a woman to show proof, like a police report or medical record, to verify that she is a victim of rape or incest.

“The burden of proof in this bill for survivors is demeaning and insulting,” said one opponent during public comment.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Jenna Persons-Mulicka, says the bill protects life.

“It’s a bill that recognizes the importance and value of the life of innocent, unborn human beings,” she said.

Five dissenting Democrats recognized the bill will likely pass and urged their Republican colleagues to revisit the amendments.

“We may not change many minds on this dais, but I really hope all of our colleagues will look at these amendments,” Democrat Christine Hunschofsky said.

A similar bill filed in the Senate is scheduled for its first committee meeting Monday.

Republicans have a strong majority in the legislature, so it’s very likely this six-week abortion ban will become law.

Florida’s current 15-week abortion ban is being challenged in the state Supreme Court. The court would need to uphold that current law for the proposed six-week ban to take effect if it’s signed into law.