TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Last year, approximately 29 million women— nearly half of the women in the United States— were of reproductive age. That’s only about three times the female population of Florida, which stands at approximately 10,170,011, according to last year’s census estimates.
Despite the CDC’s report from last year showing that abortions were at an all-time low, southern states are becoming increasingly more restrictive in their abortion legislation.
Many new laws disregard the circumstances of the pregnancy, such as rape or incest, or the health risk that pregnancy may put on the mother, and have garnered public opposition from some of the country’s most conservative figures, such as televangelist Pat Robertson.
So what are Florida’s abortion laws? Where does the Sunshine State stand on one of the most hot-button political issues of our time?
Abortions in Florida only represent 8.2 percent of all abortions in the United States even though, according to the most recent data available, 70 percent of Florida counties have no clinics that offer abortion services.
The Florida Constitution bans abortions after 24 weeks of gestation and a woman must be subject to an ultrasound before an abortion is performed.
If a minor seeks an abortion, she may not receive one, regardless of the circumstances, until a parent or legal guardian is notified.
During a medical emergency, a doctor may perform an abortion, however, in an emergency situation, under state statute 390.0111, two doctors must have in writing that “the termination of the pregnancy is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life or avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition.”
State health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act can only cover abortion if the woman’s life is endangered, or in cases of rape or incest.
Although Florida has far from severely restrictive abortion laws, that doesn’t mean state representatives are not actively working to tighten legislation on the issue.
During the 2019 legislative session, State GOP chairman and Sarasota State Sen. Joe Gruters proposed a bill called the “Florida Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which. in part, would have required a physician to use an abortion method that “provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive the abortion in specified circumstances.”
The bill was withdrawn from consideration on May 3.