A measure restricting abortions under the federal health reform law cleared a health care panel in the Florida House Wednesday.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, stipulates that no public money, and no insurance plan that receives public subsidies, can be used to pay for abortions.
“Today we struck a blow for the pro-life movement,” Gaetz said.
The bill makes some exceptions, such as for cases of rape and incest, or when the life of the mother is threatened. Stephanie Kunkel, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Florida, said the bill makes no exception for “medically necessary” cases when the health of the mother is in danger, or in some cases when the fetus is threatened.
Gaetz said a provision allowing abortions in cases that threaten a mother’s health would create an “amorphous exception” that could allow for “elective abortions” funded by public money.
The provision is made possible by an exemption from the federal health reform law, backed by the White House, that allows states to create provisions preventing public funds from paying for abortions.
A similar measure, backed by state Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, cleared a Senate panel Monday.