Redefining Viability for Abortions

TALLAHASSEE, Fla The word viability could become Key in when a woman can get an abortion in Florida. Opposing groups say the legislation would create more grey area.

Florida law doesn’t allow women to get abortions after 25 weeks or the third trimester, unless there are special medical circumstances. Now legislation could create earlier bans.

Sen. Anitere Flores, “The reason that I feel that I’m here, the reason I feel that I was elected and the issues that I feel most excited about as we move forward and we push are issues that are pro life.”

The bill redefines fetus viability. Supporters, such as Sen Andy Gardner, say medical technology can keep a fetus alive earlier on in pregnancy. “Technology shows us when we believe viability is going to happen.”

Advocates opposed to the measure are wondering why the time frame needs to be scaled back at all.

Women can get a third trimester abortion if their health is being put in jeopardy by a pregnancy. But Department of Health info from 2013 shows that none of the more than 71 thousand abortions last year happened after 25 weeks. That caused Senator Arthenia Joyner to vote ‘no.’ “Every year – just take away another right, just chip away to the point where women will practically not have the opportunity to have an abortion.”

The lack of supportive data for late term abortions doesn’t sit well with women’s groups, says Linda Miklowitzof the Florida National Council for Jewish Women. “We feel very strongly on women’s choice. This is a bill that’s a solution where there isn’t a problem.”

The bill would require a physician to determine if a fetus is viable before any abortion. Viability has no set definition.

It his highly unlikely for a fetus to be considered viable earlier than 20 weeks. If the proposal passes, the majority of abortions in the state would not be affected. About six thousand of the more than 71 thousand abortions reported in 2013 occurred in the 13th to 24th weeks of pregnancy.

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