Abortion viability bill heads to Senate floor

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On Monday, the Senate Rules Committee sent to the full Senate a bill that could prevent some currently legal abortions in Florida.

In a 6-5 party-line vote, the committee approved SB 918, a proposal filed by Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores, which prevents all abortions after fetuses reach a level of “viability.”

Flores told the committee the bill won’t hinder a woman’s ability to obtain abortions during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Democratic Sen. Eleanor Sobel argued that the measure “clearly erodes” a women’s right to choose, enforces legislative judgments on individual decisions of family and faith, and does not address cases of rape, incest or human trafficking.

Currently, Florida law prohibits abortions during the third trimester, but SB 918 requires physicians to conduct examinations before performing an abortion to determine if the fetus is viable. If viable, the law bans doctors from performing the abortion, which is an amendment of the bill that supporters say will prevent abortions at about 20 weeks.

On April 11, the House approved its version of the bill (HB 1047) by a 70-45 vote.

According to Monday’s Senate calendar, Flores’ bill will be on the Senate floor by Thursday.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.