State Sen. Lori Berman speaks at a press conference about a 15-week abortion ban. February 2, 2022. Credit: Imani Thomas.
Physicians in Florida who offer abortion services and Democratic leaders in the Florida Senate raised concerns Wednesday about a 15-week abortion ban that is moving fast in the Florida Legislature, with a Senate committee scheduled to discuss the ban this afternoon.
Earlier, the state House has been debating the ban, HB 5, in committee meetings. This is the first time a Senate committee will pursue the ban similar to Mississippi’s ban that is under review in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book was among doctors at a news conference in the state Capitol this morning, to push back against the measure being heard by state lawmakers at the Senate’s Health Policy Committee.
State Sen. Lori Berman was in disbelief about the abortion ban being considered in the Florida Legislature.
“It’s crazy that we are trying to negotiate on an abortion bill,” said Berman, a Democrat representing part of Palm Beach County.
SB 146 is sponsored by state Sen. Kelli Stargel, a Republican representing parts of Lake and Polk counties. The bill text states that “a physician may not perform a termination of pregnancy if the physician determines the gestational age of the fetus is more than 15 weeks.”
Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said in a written statement:
“Every pregnancy is unique. Patients seeking care beyond 15 weeks are often in some of the most difficult circumstances, either because of serious health complications for the pregnant person, severe fetal anomalies, or because of harsh life circumstances. This legislation ignores those real-life situations, and puts medical decisions in the hands of politicians – that is simply wrong.”
State Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, called elected officials in support of abortion bans “misguided in their perspectives.” Eskamani said that Gov. Ron DeSantis is attempting to expedite passing legislation on abortion bans.
“Let’s be clear this is a part of a national effort to ban abortion. This is not a Florida specific bill,” she added.
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