Florida Governor Signs Bill Further Restricting Later Abortions

This article was originally published on RH Reality Check.

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law Friday that places additional restrictions on abortions performed in the third trimester, and bans abortions at any point in a pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus could survive outside the pregnant person’s body.

HB 1047 passed the state legislature mostly along party lines, advancing in the house by a 70-45 vote and in the senate by a 24-15 vote.

Current Florida law bans abortions after 24 weeks’ gestation, unless the life or health of the pregnant person is threatened. The new law narrows those exceptions, as well as removes mental health conditions from being considered among the exceptions. It also requires that two doctors certify in writing that this is the case (or one doctor has to certify that an additional doctor wasn’t available to consult). Additionally, doctors will need to determine whether a fetus is viable (able to live outside the womb through “standard medical measures,” in the bill’s language), and are forbidden from performing abortions on a viable fetus.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), said in a statement that the law places unnecessary restrictions on women’s access to later abortion care, without taking into consideration the woman’s unique and complex circumstances.

“Sadly, this is really about advancing an agenda of political interference with women’s decision-making,” said González-Rojas. “Despite continued attempts to legislate women’s health, this is not what we want. Personal medical decisions, like the decision to end a pregnancy, should be kept between a woman and her doctor.”

González-Rojas also addressed the law’s impact on Latina women. “Florida has one of the largest Latino populations in the U.S., and we know that Latinas are more likely than non-Latina white women to seek abortion care,” she said. “As a result, this law has the potential to affect the families and futures of many people in our community. That’s why NLIRH and our cadre of Florida activists will continue to fight for laws that protect and advance women’s reproductive health and human rights.”

The law will go into effect on July 1.

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