TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – Top brass in the Florida Legislature are throwing their support behind taking up a Texas-style heartbeat bill that would effectively ban abortions after six weeks of gestation when lawmakers meet early next year, but Gov. DeSantis has not yet thrown his full support behind the idea.
The Texas heartbeat law allows private citizens and organizations to file civil litigation against anyone who helps facilitate an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. If successful, they could win a $10,000 settlement from a violator.
“The bill is the exact same bill as the bill in Texas,” said State Representative Anthony Sabatini.
Sabatini plans to sponsor heartbeat legislation here in Florida.
“It’s about stopping the murder of children who have a heartbeat who happen to be pre-born,” said Sabatini.
In the past, heartbeat bills were filed, but they’ve never gained traction.
Now, the Senate President and House Speaker have thrown their support behind debating the idea, after the US Supreme Court declined to block the Texas law from taking effect.
“We’re looking at the most extreme abortion ban in the country,” said State Representative Anna Eskamani.
Eskamani points out that the Supreme Court didn’t rule the Texas law was constitutional, instead, it said it couldn’t block the law because there was no one to sue yet.
“Since the state is not the enforcer, the enforcer is this whistleblower system,” said Eskamani.
Eskamani believes there’s a strong possibility the Texas law could be struck down before Florida lawmakers have a chance to pass their own.
When asked if he’d support a heartbeat bill here Gov. Ron DeSantis said he needed more time to see what happens in Texas.
“It’s a little bit different than how a lot of these debates have gone, so we’ll have to look. I’m going to look more significantly at it,” said DeSantis.
Democrats attribute public opinion with blocking previous attempts at passing abortion bans in Florida. They point to the 2012 constitutional amendment shot down by 55% of voters.
The amendment would have reversed a State Supreme Court ruling which determined the right to privacy in the State Constitution prevents most abortion restrictions.
Democrats are also calling for federal legislation, to protect against the possibility that the tides have truly shifted in the courts on abortion.