PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – A new bill in Florida, sponsored by a lawmaker in the Pensacola area, would restrict abortions in the state.
The bill, HB-235, would require a physician to perform an exam on the woman seeking an abortion whether the unborn child has a heartbeat.
State Representative Mike Hill of Florida’s 1st District, which includes part of Escambia County, sponsored HB-235. According to the bill, “A ‘fetal heartbeat’ means cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gastational sac.” The physician performing the exam would be required to offer the woman the chance to hear the heartbeat if it is detected.
If a heartbeat is detected, the bill prohibits the termination of pregnancy. In the case, HB-235 is violated and a person could face criminal charges. According to the bill, a person who knowingly performs or participates in a termination of a premature infant commits a felony of the third degree. Pregnant women seeking an abortion will be required to put in writing that she declined to review the results.
Florida State Representative Anna V. Eskamani released a statement in response to the bill. She tweeted, “This could limit abortion access for women at the six-week mark of their pregnancy, a point when many women might not even know that they are pregnant.” She also released a statement saying “Decisions around a woman’s pregnancy, whether it be to raise a child, choose adoption, or end a pregnancy, should be left between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her faith — not politicians.” You can read Rep. Eskamani’s full statement here.
The legislation would also redefine an “unborn fetus” as an “unborn human being.”