The legislators filed over 50 amendments to “water down and lampoon” the bill that would ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Florida House Democrats this week used the amendment process to express their opposition to a bill that would ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even realize they’re pregnant. Critics of SB 300 say the narrow window in the bill would amount to a “near-total” ban on abortions in the state. Florida currently allows abortions until 15 weeks, but bans nearly all abortions after that timeframe.
“It’s a scary time,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, who last week was placed in handcuffs, arrested and charged with trespassing after refusing to leave an abortion rights demonstration near the state capitol building in Tallahassee. “Women are being put in very, very dangerous situations to get the healthcare they need and deserve.”
Making a Point
The Florida Democrats filed over 50 amendments to “water down and lampoon” the bill, as the group expressed in a press release.
One amendment by State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) would change the name of the proposed law from the “Heartbeat Protection Act” to the “Forced Pregnancy Act,” and would require that anyone denied an abortion under the bill be provided a document that lists the names of lawmakers that voted for the bill and the name of the governor who signed it.
Other state representatives’ proposed amendments include:
- State Rep. Katherine Waldron (D-Palm Beach) proposed that women who are blocked from having an abortion under the bill, along with the father of the child, be given three months of fully paid maternity or paternity leave.
- State Rep. Hillary Cassel (D-Broward) proposed a religious exception to the six-week ban, which would exempt women from the ban if they have “sincerely held religious belief that permits or requires the termination of pregnancy” beyond the restrictions of the bill.
- Rep. Angie Nixon’s amendments would offer financial assistance to expectant mothers seeking doula services and money for educational campaigns around Black “maternal health and maternal mortality.”
The proposed changes were part of more than 50 amendments that Democrats offered to the bill on Tuesday, as House lawmakers prepare to take up the bill that cleared the state Senate earlier this month. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has indicated he will sign the bill.
“In the course of just two generations, we’ve seen our rights won and lost,” Leader Book said in a floor speech last week. “It is up to us to get them back. No one is going to save us but ourselves.”