On Sept. 22, Republican Florida State Rep. Webster Barnaby filed HB167, a Texas-style abortion bill also known as the Florida Heartbeat Act. Florida Democratic lawmakers immediately condemned the measure as “extreme,” “disgusting,” and “a war on women.”
“Barnaby files EXTREME anti-abortion legislation, banning abortion at 6 weeks and creating a pathway to SUE people who help someone end a pregnancy too,” Democratic Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani posted on Twitter moments after the bill was filed. “It’s a [Florida] version of [Texas]’s bill and it’s disgusting.”
“My response to these Democrat lawmakers is that we could begin to listen with a little more seriousness to their talking points if it didn’t involve the purposeful destruction of a human life,” Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life told The Epoch Times, citing that even the Supreme Court has acknowledged abortion is the only procedure that involves the “purposeful termination of a potential life.”
“These people are just spouting talking points,” Pavone said.
“Contact Rep. Barnaby and tell him how you feel about this offensive attack on reproductive rights and bodily autonomy,” Eskamani said on Twitter. “Remember we expect MORE anti-abortion bills to be filed, too.”
Eskamani added in a statement that “Abortion is healthcare, abortion is a private medical decision, abortion is personal—and there should be no politicians getting involved between a person and their doctor.”
‘Abortion is Not Health Care’
“The statement by state representative Eskamani is based upon emotion rather than fact,” Alveda King, former state representative for Georgia and niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., told The Epoch Times. “As a woman who has learned the hard way that abortion is not healthcare, I can say emphatically that science proves that the best and most healthy way to help a woman is to give her opportunities to birth her children in a healthy way. Any medical procedures whether they be chemical or surgical, that alters a woman’s natural reproductivity will have consequences.”
Pavone also insists abortion is not healthcare, which is why Democrats “won’t describe what abortion is.”
“Do me a favor,” Pavone said. “Describe to me how abortions are done. Give me an accurate medical description of the procedure.”
“They don’t know how to do that,” Pavone asserted. “They don’t have the courage to do that because as soon as the person starts describing the procedure, they can’t even say the words. It’s so horrific, and they know it. I challenge them directly. Okay, you think this is healthcare? Okay, very good. Well, it’s good to talk about healthcare. Let’s describe what it is. You say abortion is healthcare, even late-term abortion? Tell me exactly how late-term abortion is done, from beginning to end. What instruments are used? What does the doctor do in performing this ‘healthcare’ for the woman? They won’t do it. They’re afraid to do it, and if they did it there would be no more argument because the public would see it’s literally barbaric.”
‘Abortion is Death Care’
“Extremist politicians continue to find time for their War on Women,” Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) said on the House floor the day the bill was filed, adding that when she was a police officer, she “put away rapists, stalkers and domestic abusers.”
“Now extremist politicians in Texas and my state of Florida are instead trying to empower those same criminals to sue victims if they get an abortion,” Demings charged.
King said, while the crimes of rapists, stalkers, and domestic abusers are “heinous crimes, abortion does nothing to staunch the harmful impact of those criminal actions.”
“The most important thing to remember here is that abortion does not cure those crimes,” King said. “It compounds the grief the mother must bear and then adds the burden of bringing about the death of an innocent child. The child is innocent. Why should the child die?”
Demings also made it clear she believes women should also have the right to have an abortion simply if the pregnancy is an inconvenient result of consensual sex.
“But let me be clear,” Demings continued. “No Florida woman needs to justify her healthcare decisions to anyone. It’s our freedom to decide versus your attempts to control. When I chose to have family, I did not ask my senator, my congressman or my governors for permission. Every woman has the right, the freedom, to make their choice for herself. And to do so based on her own personal, individual circumstances.”
“The issues of abortion and harmful measures and procedures that are offered to women in the name of ‘reproductive health care’ are often harmful to a woman’s health, well-being and life,” King countered. What should be discussed is a woman’s right to know abortion is death care. Abortion actually kills a human person. Abortion actually affects the body and life of the mother. There are lasting effects from abortion that are often not known for many many years and are certainly not recorded as such by those who provide the abortions.”
According to CompassCare, the immediate risks of abortion include damage to the womb or cervix, incomplete abortion, requiring an additional surgical abortion procedure, infection of the uterus or Fallopian tubes, Sepsis or Septic shock, uterine perforation, or death. Future risks from abortion include breast cancer, pelvic inflammatory diseases, infertility and mental health problems.
“Mothers who must make a life-changing decision are often ill-advised, mislead, and lied to about the lasting harm that abortion can bring,” King noted. “A woman has a right to know there are healthy alternatives to abortion.”
‘Abortion Is Not Equity’
“Access to abortion is health care, access to safe abortion is equity, access to safe abortion is racial justice and equal justice and women justice,” Democratic state Rep. Michele Rayner said at a “Bans Off My Body” rally led by Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on the steps of Florida’s old Capitol on Tuesday.
“Abortion is not equity in that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being,” King refuted. “There is no attorney for the child in the womb for the mother. That makes abortion a crime against humanity and a civil wrong. Because civil law is man-made law, abortion is legal but it’s an act against the life of an innocent human being.”
“A medical procedure is supposed to help the body do something it’s naturally supposed to do but is having trouble doing,” Pavone added. “Abortion is the opposite. The body is doing what it’s supposed to do in nurturing and growing that child and adjusting in many ways to the presence of that child and abortion goes in and stops all of that. Abortion is a reversal of what medicine and healthcare is supposed to be.”
Much like the Texas bill, which was signed into law by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbot in May, the proposed Florida bill requires a physician to conduct a test for the presence of detectable fetal heartbeat and to inform the mother if one is found.
If a heartbeat is detected the measure prohibits the physician from performing or inducing an abortion and the measure provides for civil action against the physician if the abortion is performed anyway. If the physician fails to conduct test to detect fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion, this also “authorizes private civil cause of action.”
The bill also asserts that “the State of Florida has a compelling interest from the outset of a woman’s pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the unborn child.”
Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls was contacted for comment on the bill’s progress.
“There’s some pretty serious arguments right now in the Supreme Court regarding state’s interest,” Pavone said, “and this is what Florida is doing here. They’re trying to express interest of the states, which was actually acknowledged by Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
As Pavone explained, the point of “state’s interest” was made particularly in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The court agreed that—from the onset of pregnancy—the state has an interest both in the life of the mother and in the life inside of her.
“They’re trying to assert the interest of the state,” Pavone clarified. “So we can’t do rational and responsible law-making if we’re just going to throw out all of these arguments using pro-abortion soundbites. These Democrats are so shallow. It’s all they’re doing here. It would be good for them to read the briefs that have been submitted and are under consideration right now by the Supreme Court and get a little educated on what abortion bills are all about.”
“Prayerfully, America is waking up, realizing that human life is sacred from the womb to the tomb,” King said. “As civilized human beings we must find ways to serve humanity without killing humanity. When we recognize the beating heart of a baby at six weeks, that is a step forward. What do we do about the babies from conception up to six weeks? We have to think about that and care about them. What about the woman who has been raped or abused and finds herself pregnant and not ready to bear her child, to birth her child, and be a mother. There has to be healthy solution, life-affirming solutions, for the mother and the child.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.