(WFLA) — A bill that would allow pregnant women convicted of felonies to defer their jail time up to 12 weeks moved forward in the Florida House on Tuesday.

WTVJ reported that the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee voted 14-1 to approve House Bill 779.

The proposal will be sent to a Judiciary Committee before it is introduced to the Florida House.

Bill sponsor Dianne Hart, D-Tampa, told WTVJ that she drafted the bill, dubbed “Ava’s Law,” in response to the death of a baby born to a woman in the Alachua County Jail in 2021.

According to the bill’s analysis, Erica Thompson was booked into the Alachua County Jail after being arrested for violating probation. While she was being booked into jail, she told the booking officer that she was pregnant and having contractions.

After Thompson was processed she continued to have contractions and gave birth to a baby, who was three months premature.

The baby, named Ava, was taken to a hospital and died hours later.

Under the new measure, a judge would consider the severity of the case, the pregnant woman’s prior criminal history, and whether deferring the woman’s sentence would pose a danger to the community.

Pregnant women granted deferment will be placed on probation until they are incarcerated.

Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, told WTVJ that the measure could have life-saving impacts.

“This particular bill will save babies,” she said.

The bill would also inform women of a right to a pregnancy test if they are in custody for 72 hours. Additionally, women can be administered a pregnancy test within 24 hours of making the request.

A similar bill was introduced in the Florida Senate in March. It has not received a committee hearing.