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HomeNewsNew Florida Bill Threatens State Supreme Court’s Consideration of Abortion Amendment 

New Florida Bill Threatens State Supreme Court’s Consideration of Abortion Amendment 

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Florida Supreme Court
Source: BenFriedman/X

Pro-abortion rights activists in Florida are close to scoring a significant win through a constitutional amendment that is before the State’s Supreme Court. But a new bill on the legislature’s floor could dash their hopes. 

If the Supreme Court approves, there could be a change to Florida’s constitution concerning abortion. The amendment aims to allow access to abortion before viability. That is, before the fetus grows to the stage where it can survive outside the womb. 

The Supreme Court will not consider the merits of the bill. Their only job is to ascertain if the bill’s wording is clear enough before it is subject to a vote later in November. If Floridians vote “Yes,” the bill will become law. 

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But its pathway isn’t as easy anymore. Another bill that allows wrongful death claims concerning fetuses is also on the way. The SB 476 bill has just been scaled through the Florida Senate judiciary committee. 

Also Read: Florida Lawmakers Strike Down DeSantis’ Miami Beach Casino Proposal

Members of the committee voted 7-2 in favor of the bill, in line with their party interests. The same bill is also on the floor of the House. Its Senate sponsor, Republican Eric Grall, who represents five counties in the Fort Pierce area, has a reputation for sponsoring anti-abortion bills.

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The same goes for a House member from Lee County, Jenna Persons-Mulicka, who is also a Republican. Both were co-sponsors of the Florida 15-week abortion ban and the 6-week ban that came after. 

The wrongful death bill will allow parents of unborn fetuses to recover noneconomic damages from any party responsible for the death of the fetus. These noneconomic damages include pain and suffering. 

POLL—Should Abortion Be Legal in Most Cases?

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So, if a fetus were to die in an automobile crash or through medical malpractice, the parents can sue for wrongful death. Grall also clarified in a committee meeting that the bill would allow a father to sue an abortion provider over a terminated fetus. However, the bill won’t allow any claim against pregnant women. 

The bill hasn’t gone down well with Democrats. The leader of the Democrat senators, Lauren Book, representing Broward County, says the bill is “very scary.” “There’s a lot of fear here, and there is a lot of anxiety, and there is a lot that’s left to interpretation in a world where we have no protection,” she said. 

Other opponents of the bill are worried that it could expose physicians to a barrage of civil lawsuits. Many of these physicians are likely to leave the state afterward. 

Kara Gross, Senior Policy Counsel of the ACLU, Florida, has shared her thoughts in a written statement. She warned that aside from its threat to doctors, family members of pregnant women who lend support towards abortion care are also at risk of litigation. 

Also Read: Florida Governor Rejects Proposal for Floridians to Pay Trump’s Legal Fees

She also complained about the clarity of the bill’s wording. “There is no definition of ‘unborn child’ in the bill’s language. It’s unclear whether a cause of action accrues at the moment of fertilization or any time after,” she continued. 

She believes that the bill will cause lots of confusion “and only further obstruct Floridians’ access to abortion care in the state.” For now, Floridians on both sides of the divide can only keep their fingers crossed as they await the new direction for abortion rights. 

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