TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – Doctors who abort a fetus after more than 20 weeks of gestation could be charged with a felony under legislation filed in the State Capitol.
The legislation is based on studies that show the fetus can experience pain at 20 weeks, but opponents call it one more veiled attempt at making all abortions illegal.
The legislation would end almost all abortions at 20 weeks.
Senate Sponsor Dennis Baxley said that’s when a fetus feels pain.
“That’s what the evidence has shown in the pain sensitiveness of unborn children. And it’s perfectly clear that they’re under attack and resisting the attack of the abortionist,” said Baxley.
Under the legislation, doctors who violate the law could face a felony and five years in prison. The mother could not be charged under the bill.
The only exception to the 20-week ban is the physical health of the mother and that doesn’t include her mental health or fears of suicide.
”Politicians are not medical experts,” said Dian Alarcon with the Latina Institute.
In a Planned Parenthood video conference, mothers who have had abortions called the legislation wrong.
“I had an abortion. This is what it looked like for me. It’s not always right or wrong, black or white,” said Dana Pierce.
Activist Charo Valero said mothers already face big problems getting abortions.
“Including not knowing about it. Not having access to services, not being able to travel,” said Valero.
The mothers said after a year of COVID, lawmakers should have better things to do. Baxley disagrees.
“I think its always time to go back and look at your core values, and do you believe you vale children? Do you value life?” said Baxley.
Of the 72,000 abortions reported by the state last year, only about 6,500 were in the second trimester.
Opponents believe the legislation violates the second trimester, or 24 weeks, allowed under Roe v. Wade.
Supporters hope to test the law before the US Supreme Court.