Mon, Sep 18, 2023 3:11 PM
By Andrew Powell, The Center Square
A bill seeking to prevent Florida women from being prosecuted for seeking abortions out of state was filed last week as the state Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the state's six-week abortion ban.
In a news release, Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Davie, said she had filed legislation to prevent pregnant women and girls from being criminally charged and imprisoned for obtaining an abortion, stating that the new bill — Senate Bill 34 — was in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ claim that only abortion providers would be prosecuted.
With the Republicans holding large majorities (83-35 in the House, 28-12 in the Senate) in the Legislature, SB 34 stands little chance of passage.
While explaining newly-passed SB 300 during an interview with CBS Miami — the new law that changed the 15-week limit for abortions to six weeks but has not gone into effect — DeSantis said he supports pro-life policies. He also said pregnant women in Florida who seek an abortion will not be subject to criminal charges.
The 15-week abortion ban law is under review by the state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on Sept. 5. If the court rules in favor of the 15-week ban, the new six-week ban will go into effect 30 days after the decision’s issuance.
"We have no criminal penalties, the penalties are for the physician…that is for the providers, it’s not for the women," DeSantis told CBS Miami.
However, specific language in SB 300 could be interpreted as including pregnant women. Book took to X (formally known as Twitter) to announce the filing of her bill to ensure that does not happen.
According to Book’s news release, her "glitch bill" is capitalizing on DeSantis’ interpretation of "this cruel and dangerous ban" and aims to correct Florida law and shield women from prosecution and/or imprisonment by clarifying that pregnant women cannot be criminally charged for obtaining an abortion.
The news release claims since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the effects of state-level abortion bans are now not only being seen in Florida but throughout the rest of the country as well.
It further alleges that women who suffered miscarriages are being denied care and abortions are off the table for women whose fetuses have fetal abnormalities and child sexual assault victims.