While Gov. Ron DeSantis is completely botching the state’s COVID-19 response, other Republican lawmakers have their eyes set on ruining their constituents’ lives another way.
Florida Rep. Webster Barnaby, a Black Republican, has filed a bill that will allow physicians to be fined at least $10,000 for performing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. According to Local 10 News, Barnaby filed the proposed ban, the “Florida Heartbeat Act,” on Wednesday morning.
Here’s what the bill says, according to Local 10:
The bill requires a physician to conduct a test for, and inform a woman seeking abortion of, the presence of detectable fetal heartbeat. It also prohibits physicians from performing or inducing abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected, or, if a physician fails to conduct a test to detect fetal heartbeat.
The bill also provides exceptions.
The bill provides exceptions for rape, incest, domestic violence, human trafficking, or a condition that’s threatening to the mother. However, those seeking an abortion due to said exceptions require documentation, such as a restraining order, medical record, or court order, to legally do so.
Much like Texas’ abortion ban, S.B. 8, which went into effect earlier this month, the proposed bill will allow citizens to sue physicians, clinics and those who help anyone get the procedure.
Local 10 also reports that the bill altered the definition of the word abortion.
More from Local 10:
According to the act, “abortion” means the termination of human pregnancy with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead unborn child.
Previously, the definition concluded with “to remove a dead fetus” rather than “to remove a dead unborn child.” This is a deliberate change noted throughout the act. “Unborn child” has replaced the term “dead fetus.”
According to CBS News, DeSantis already has his eyes on the proposed bill as it moves through the legislative process. A spokesperson for the governor’s office unsurprisingly shared that he is anti-abortion. CBS notes that DeSantis signed a brief in July with nine other Republican governors requesting the Supreme Court overturns the landmark decision in the Roe v. Wade case.
“The state of Florida has a compelling interest from the outset of a woman’s pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the unborn child,” the bill states.
Representative Anna Eskamani, a Florida Democrat, called the proposed legislation a “gross excuse of a bill” that “attacks women and birthing people.”
“Extreme attacks on reproductive health are not about policy, it is about control, shame, and will negatively impact communities who already experience barriers to accessing care,” Eskamani tweeted on Wednesday.
Physicians will pay one fine per abortion to the citizens who sue them, CBS reports. They can only be successfully sued one time for each abortion they perform, preventing multiple parties from collecting fines for the same abortions. The proposed law, like S.B. 8, will also be hard for those against it to challenge it legally. Since enforcement of the law is left up to citizens, it is difficult to determine defendants when fighting the ban in court.
If it is passed, the law will go into effect on July 1, 2022.
Florida, y’all just can’t seem to catch a break.