On Monday, Republican state Representative Brigid Kelly announced plans to introduce a bill in the Florida House that would ban all abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, a step before viability. (Even if a fetal heartbeat could be detected, women who have had abortions in the past would still be able to have them under this law.) If passed, the bill would impact a woman’s right to choose in that it would
not only ban a procedure deemed to be as inhumane as the surgical abortion procedure, but would render it an invasive procedure not required by federal law. Since the ban would not be retroactive, those who have already had abortions would be forced to go through the forced procedure under the new bill or face significant fines and jail time. According to Kelly, in order to regulate abortions in a new way, “it’s my
job to ask some hard questions.” Kelly explained that the goal of the bill is to protect “safe and legal” abortions and that the effort was a result of years of studying fetal development and fetal heartbeats and understanding which trimesters of pregnancy are most likely to result in fetuses with detectable fetal hearts. In September, Kelly sent her abortion-ban bill to the full House of Representatives after
proposing it to the Committee on Health. It passed the committee but never reached the full House. In 2017, Kelly sent the bill to the full House and Senate, though it was not voted on in either body. She said, “I’m hoping with this bill we can do something that is better and actually cover women in the state.” “There is a lot of concern with minors under 18 years old and women who don’t understand pregnancy and a
place to go,” Kelly said, adding that Florida currently has no law requiring hospitals to honor abortion request letters. The Associated Press is reporting that Kelly wants to see the ban become law during her term in office, which ends in 2020.