Florida Republicans have proposed a bill that would impose felony charges against doctors who carry out abortions unless two medical professionals certify in writing before the procedure that it is medically necessary to save the mother’s life.
Proposed by state Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka, House Bill 1151 would shutter all abortion clinics and criminalize almost all induced abortions. The only exceptions the bill allows are if two physicians certify in writing that “the termination of pregnancy is necessary to prevent the death of the patient.”
If only one physician is available, that doctor must certify in writing that “a medical emergency existed and another physician was not available for consultation.” The doctor would also be required to describe the medical emergency.
If the doctor or doctors do not fulfill the certification requirements, the bill proposes subjecting them to a maximum penalty of life in prison.
In addition, the proposed law would mandate that doctors provide patients with information about adoption services, including contact information for lawyers who will volunteer their help to aid the process.
The bill’s author, Rep. Van Zant, is a Baptist minister. His previous efforts to pass similar bills have failed. It’s just one of several Republicans in the state are pursuing, including one that would upgrade an accidental fetal death in vehicular accidents to a charge of manslaughter, and another known as the “fetal pain” bill, which seeks to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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