Florida Lawmakers Looking at Duplicating Texas Abortion Limits: Report (Dreamstime)
By Jeffrey Rubin | Thursday, 02 September 2021 03:43 PM
The Texas abortion law banning almost all abortions in the state already appears to be having a ripple effect.
Republican legislative leaders in Florida indicated Thursday they plan to look at whether their state can enact similar restrictions.
According to a report by WUWF public radio in northwest Florida, Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, referred to the Texas law as “a new approach,” and he called the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling allowing the measure to stand “encouraging.”
“As an adoptive child myself, it’s important to me that we do everything we can to promote adoption and prevent abortion; therefore, I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at the Texas law and see if there is more we can do here in Florida,” Simpson said in a statement, WUWF reported.
House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, apparently weighed in on the same hot topic. He issued a statement saying he expects the abortion issue to be pursued during the 2022 legislative session, which is set to start in January.
“In Florida, we agree that killing an innocent human being with a beating heart is wrong,” Sprowls said in the statement, as reported by the station. “It is why we have worked every session to strengthen protections for unborn babies, including those for unborn children with disabilities last session."
Texas' law outlawing abortions after six weeks was widely panned by Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden. Those criticisms were reiterated by state Democratic lawmakers, who quickly condemned the Supreme Court decision and Republican leaders for considering bringing similar strict regulation to Florida.
“More jaw-dropping hypocrisy from FL’s GOP ‘leaders’ who say it is their choice to wear a mask, but not a woman's choice what to do with her body,” Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, tweeted. The tweet referred to staunch opposition to mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic by Republicans including Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The Texas bill, signed into law in May by Gov. Greg Abbott but held up from enactment by ongoing legal challenges, outlaws abortions after the presence of a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur six weeks into a pregnancy. The law makes exceptions for medical emergencies. What's more, though, it lets people sue those who perform or aid such procedures past the six-week threshold.
According to the radio report, DeSantis told reporters in West Palm Beach on Thursday he welcomes legislation to restrict abortions, but he added that the Supreme Court decision might not have been a “substantive ruling.” While the Supreme Court refused to block the Texas law from taking effect, it did not rule on the underlying constitutional issues. Still in place are the precedents of the landmark court ruling known as Roe v. Wade, although critics of the Texas law and high court's latest action insist this is a prelude to the conservative-majority Supreme Court gutting Roe entirely
“They (justices) basically said it's not ripe yet for a decision, that if it ends up going, then you could consider it at that time,” DeSantis said when asked if he would support a measure like Texas'.
In July, he and 10 other Republican governors signed a brief urging the court to reject the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and leave abortion issues to states. The brief, filed by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in a Mississippi abortion case that is pending.