Anti-abortion activists rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington during the annual March for Life on Jan. 18, 2019. (Saul Loeb – AFP / Getty Images)
By Brett Davis September 23, 2021 at 3:15pm
A Republican legislator in Florida on Wednesday introduced a sweeping abortion bill modeled after the Texas law that essentially prevents abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually six weeks into pregnancy.
House Bill 167 was filed by state Rep. Webster Barnaby. The bill, like the Texas law, allows private citizens to bring a civil lawsuit against any person who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.”
Florida lawmaker @WebsterBarnaby files #Texas-style #abortion bill
Story by @RenzoDowneyhttps://t.co/DHRMYwZHub#FlaPol pic.twitter.com/5dHeHJruYq
— Florida Politics (@Fla_Pol) September 22, 2021
The Florida legislation, like the Texas law, also provides for remedies and damages.
Barnaby’s introduction of the bill comes weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against blocking the Texas law.
Reactions to the Florida bill from pro-abortion organizations were swift and unequivocal.
“We are horrified to see anti-choice politicians in Florida following in Texas’ footsteps, and there’s no question that lawmakers hostile to reproductive freedom in other states will do the same,” NARAL Pro-Choice America acting President Adrienne Kimmel said in a statement. “The harm of these draconian attacks cannot be overstated and they most acutely impact those who already face the greatest barriers to accessing care.
Would you like to see more states pass laws similar to the Texas “heartbeat” legislation?
“Even as Roe stands, the evisceration of abortion access is well underway and Florida is just the latest example of the anti-choice movement’s effort to send safe, legal abortion in its entirety through vigilantism. The need for legislative action to safeguard the legal right to abortion is becoming more urgent with every passing day. Congress must immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act so President Biden can sign it into law and protect the right to abortion care.”
Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, told the Florida Phoenix, “While this bill is extreme, it’s important to recognize it is part of a national agenda to end access to abortion in this country.”
“While this bill is extreme, it’s important to recognize it is part of a national agenda to end access to abortion in this country,” Goodhue said. – Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates (@FAPPA).https://t.co/hgpQBpcjgo
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) September 6, 2021
Meanwhile, many pro-lifers celebrated the bill’s introduction.
Three cheers for Rep. Webster Barnaby (R-FL).#Life https://t.co/H3nY9nneMB
— Rod D. Martin (@RodDMartin) September 23, 2021
So wonderful! I pray every morning for an end to abortion and God has heard my prayers! Hallelujah!
— Gillian Campbell (@C76Gillian) September 22, 2021
“I’m pro-life,” Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said this month during a West Palm Beach news conference following the Supreme Court’s decision not to block the Texas law, as reported by the Daily Caller. “I welcome pro-life legislation. What they did in Texas was interesting, but I haven’t really been able to look at enough about it.”
Lawmakers in several other states are also considering legislation that mirrors the Texas heartbeat law.