New Florida bill would ban abortions after heartbeat is detectable

Posted at 6:16 AM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 06:24:06-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida House Republican filed a proposal Jan. 10 that would block physicians from performing abortions if fetal heartbeats have been detected.

Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola, filed the measure, House Bill 235, for consideration during the legislative session that starts March 5.

The proposal would lead to third-degree felony charges for any “person who knowingly or purposefully performs or induces an abortion on a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the unborn human being whose fetal heartbeat has been detected,” though it would include limited exceptions in situations such as when a woman’s life is in danger.

So-called “fetal heartbeat” legislation has drawn heavy debate in other states and, in some cases, has led to legal battles about whether it violates abortion rights.

For example, Iowa lawmakers last spring passed a fetal-heartbeat bill, and a judge heard arguments in December about its constitutionality, according to numerous news reports.

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