By Sharon Bernstein
(Reuters) – A Florida Republican lawmaker has filed a bill that would ban abortions after six to eight weeks and allow members of the community to sue doctors for terminating pregnancies in what may be the first effort to mirror a similar new law in Texas.
Rep. Webster Barnaby, a state representative, would have abortions banned after regular heartbeats are detected in an egg. These contractions can occur anywhere from six to eight weeks into a pregnancy. This is often before women even know that they’re pregnant.
Advocates of reproductive rights instantly condemned the bill.
It’s a FL bill, and it’s horrible,” Florida State Representative Anna V. Eskamani posted to Twitter (NYSE:).
Helene Krasnoff is the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Vice President for Public Policy Litigation and Law. She said that the Florida bill was her first since the Texas “Heartbeat Act”.
Both the Texas law as well as the Florida bill represent the latest effort by Republican officials over decades to ban or limit abortion in conservative countries.
Although abortion advocates believe the Supreme Court established abortion’s right in 1973 Roe v. Wade, the court now holds a 6-3 majority of conservative judges and will hear from Mississippi or other states seeking to reverse that decision.
Barnaby’s bill, which was filed for consideration in the Republican-controlled legislature next year, is similar to the Texas measure in that would ban abortion after the so-called fetal heartbeat is detected and allow abortion opponents to sue doctors and their employees for $10,000 for terminating pregnancies.
Texas has a stricter law. There are no exemptions from rape and incest. However, it could be used to enable lawsuits to be brought against those who aid a woman to have an abortion.
Florida’s bill allows for exceptions in the case of rape, medical emergency and incest that may threaten the woman’s health.
After a U.S. Supreme Court decline to grant an abortion rights group’s request to stop it, Texas’ law became the strictest in the nation and went into effect Sept. 1.
This was an important victory for conservatives who long sought to end abortion access in America.
President Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats voiced their outrage. The Justice Department of Biden has taken the Texas law to federal court.
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