Florida Republican introduces fetal heartbeat abortion bill

Unborn child's heartbeat usually detected around 6 weeks
Posted at 1:31 PM, Sep 22, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A new fetal heartbeat abortion bill was filed in Florida on Wednesday that has similarities to a controversial measure that took effect in Texas earlier this month.

RELATED: Could Texas-style abortion law come to Florida in 2022?

The bill, HB 167, was introduced in the Florida House of Representatives by State Rep. Webster Barnaby, R-Deltona.

The measure states that an abortion would be prohibited if a physician detects a fetal heartbeat or if the physician fails to conduct a test to detect a heartbeat.

An unborn child's heartbeat is usually detected around six weeks, which is a time when many women aren't even aware they are pregnant.


Florida currently bans abortions after 24 weeks.

The new bill would impose civil penalties with "damages in the amount of at least $10,000 for each abortion that the defendant performed or induced and for each abortion the defendant aided or abetted."

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the Texas law, calling it "blatantly unconstitutional."

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson said this month that "the Texas law represents a new approach" and called the Supreme Court's refusal to block the law "encouraging."

Meanwhile, Democrats have called a Texas-style abortion law "an assault on women's rights."

If the measure is passed in the upcoming Florida legislative session, it would take effect July 1, 2022.