TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Earlier this week, lawmakers sent Governor Rick Scott legislation making it a crime to hurt or kill a fetus, even if unintentional. Now lawmakers are also redefining when a fetus is viable, which could shorten the window for abortions.
Under current law, abortions are legal in Florida through the 24th week and later if the woman's health or psychological condition are at risk.
The latest abortion bill changes the third trimester benchmark to one of viability. Viability is defined in the bill as "the stage of fetal development when a fetus is sustainable outside the womb through standard medical measures." Sponsor Anitere Flores says viability could now be as early as 20 weeks. "But there does come a point where we say now there are two and that is the point after viability."
Democrats like Arthenia Joyner say any decision should be between a woman and her doctor. "This bill further erodes a woman's right to choose and it's not our providence to take that personal right away from a woman."
The change passed on a party line vote
Scott's office said he plans to sign the legislation protecting unborn fetuses sent to him earlier this week and he's likely to sign this bill as well.
Planned parenthood is already calling for a veto. A statement from Governor Rick Scott's office says, 'Governor Scott is pro-life. He looks forward to reviewing this legislation now that it has passed both the House and Senate."
In addition to shortening the potential time in which an abortion can be performed, the legislation also deletes psychological conditions as a reason for a late term abortion.