The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has issued a video statement on the three anti-abortion bills set to be heard this afternoon in a state House health committee.
State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, the chair of a health committee that frequently considers abortion bills, has scheduled three bills that would restrict access to legal abortions in the state during a meeting today. Baxley is a former executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida.
The bills include a “fetal pain” bill, which would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks, a controversial bill that would outlaw race- and sex-based abortions and a bill that women’s health advocates are calling an“omnibus anti-choice bill” — because it contains several measures that would make it harder for women to obtain a legal abortions and also make it harder for providers to provide the legal service.
Maria Kayanan, associate legal director for the ACLU of Florida, said in video statement today that the bills would “intrude into a very difficult, personal, private medical decisions that should remain between a woman, her doctor, her family and her faith.”
“A woman should be able to decide whether and when to bear a family,” she said.
On the subject of the scientifically questionable “fetal pain” bill, Kayanan said that “viability varies from pregnancy to pregnancy, and from woman to woman.”
“This is a medical decision, not a legislative political decision,” she said.
Kayanan also said that the omnibus abortion bill, which includes targeted restrictions for abortion providers “is an attempt to regulate safe and lawful abortions out of existence, and turn back the clock four decades, before Roe v. Wade.”
She said that while “the previous two bills have as an underlying message that the Legislature of Florida doesn’t trust women,” the bill that would outlaw “race- or gender-based abortions … indicates that the Legislature especially doesn’t trust women of color – African-American women, Asian women and Latina woman – and requires physicians to question them about their motives for obtaining an abortion”
“Although the bill purports to ban abortions based on race and sex selection, there is absolutely no evidence that women are obtaining abortions for those reasons,” Kayanan said. “There’s not even a test, as far as we know, to determine the race of the fetus. This bill is simply an attempt to use race as a wedge to criminalize abortion, and it is related to the despicable billboards across the country that equate abortion to racial genocide.”
Watch Kayanan’s entire statement: