TALLAHASSEE — Abortion will likely be the hot topic of the day in the Florida House on Wednesday, as six controversial abortion-related bills are scheduled for a vote.
During the House session, scheduled from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., state representative are slated to vote on the following:
■ HB 1127 – Requires an ultrasound for all patients prior to an abortion procedure. Current law does not require first-trimester ultrasounds.
■ HB 1397 – Expands the category of prohibited abortions in Florida to include those when the fetus has attained viability outside the womb. It also creates stricter conditions for performing third-trimester abortions, allowing them only to prevent the woman’s death or a “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.” Currently, third-trimester abortions are only allowed to “save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”
■ HB 1247 – Adds requirements to Florida’s parental notification law. Notices of a minor’s pending abortion would have to be mailed to a parent or guardian. In the case of medical emergencies, physicians would have to make reasonable attempts to contact a parent or guardian.
■ HB 501 – Designates money raised by Florida’s “Choose Life” license plate go to the non-profit Choose Life, Inc., to distribute to entities that provide adoption and health-care services.
■ HB 97 – Prohibits the use of state or federal funds to provide coverage for abortions in health insurance policies purchased through state health insurance exchanges created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
■ HJR 1179 – Proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution prohibiting spending public funds on abortions or health benefits that cover abortion. The joint resolution requires approval of three-fifths of the membership of each chamber of the Legislature to be placed on the November 2012 ballot.
During a press conference Tuesday morning, Democratic lawmakers described the six Republican-sponsored abortion bills as “anti-women.”
“Rather than focusing on helping the nearly 1 million Floridians out of work, or working to finalize a state budget, the Republican majority has decided to spend the next two days interfering with a woman’s health-care decision,” Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, said.
_Connect with Ryan Mills at www.naplesnews.com/staff/ryan-mills/