April 28, 2011

Florida House passes six anti-abortion bills

The Palm Beach Post reports:
The House passed six anti-abortion measures Wednesday mostly on party-line votes, with the Republicans approving. Here are the bills and the votes:

Ultrasound: Would require women to have an ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus before getting an abortion. Would allow women to refuse to review the ultrasound if they do so in writing. HB 1127. . . passed 81-37. SB 1744 . . . set for [Senate] Budget Committee vote . . .

Abortion clinics: Would prohibit abortion clinics from doing third trimester abortions. Also would create new requirements for abortion clinics, including that any opened after Oct. 1 be wholly owned and operated by a doctors, and for doctors providing abortions, including that they get annual ethics training. Also would require that abortion providers report to state health officials after every abortion rather than the current monthly reporting. HB 1397 . . . passed 79-36. SB 1748 . . . ready for vote by full Senate.

Parental consent: Would change current parental notification laws to make it more difficult for minors to obtain court waivers allowing them to get abortions without their parents' consent. Gives judges less leeway when determining a minor's maturity to make a decision about abortion. Requires the girl to go to court in the circuit where she lives instead of within the larger appellate district. Gives judges three business days instead of 48 hours to consider the cases. HB 1247 . . . passed 82-35. SB 1770 . . . Budget Committee vote Thursday.

Public funding: Would put a question on the November 2012 ballot asking voters whether the Florida constitution should be amended to ban public funding for abortions and health-benefits coverage for abortions. Allows public funding for rape, incest and to protect the mother's life, and would not apply to expenditures required by federal law. Also specifies that the Florida constitution may not be interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those in the U.S. Constitution, which would effectively weaken the right to privacy now contained in Florida's constitution. Needs 60 percent of vote in each chamber to go on ballot and 60 percent of public vote to pass. HJR 1179 passed 82-35. SJR 1538 preliminarily approved by Senate.

License plates: Would channel money from "Choose Life" license plate sales to the nonprofit Choose Life Inc. to give to agencies that assist women placing their children for adoption. Also would allow 20 percent of tag sales to be spent on administration and advertising by Choose Life Inc. Current law sends money to the counties where the tags were sold and requires 100 percent of it to be used to support agencies counseling or helping women who choose adoption. New law, like current one, prohibits any money going to any agency having any involvement with abortion, including counseling women that it is an option. HB 501. . . passed 82-35.
SB 196. . . ready for vote in Senate.

Abortion insurance: Would bar insurance policies purchased in whole or in part through insurance exchanges created by the federal health-care act from providing abortion coverage. Would bar businesses receiving tax credits for providing health insurance for their employees from offering policies that cover abortion. HB 97 passed 80-37. SB 1414 . . . preliminarily approved by Senate.

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