‘Florida Heartbeat Act’: State rep. files Texas-style abortion bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida State Representative filed a Texas-style abortion bill on Wednesday that would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

The bill, filed by Florida Rep. Webster Barnaby, R - District 27, is deemed the “Florida Heartbeat Act.”

READ: Justice Department files suit over Texas abortion law

It states that once a heartbeat is detected, abortions will not be allowed unless the mother’s life is in danger.

The bill also states that a person is able to file a civil action against a person who induces or performs an abortion against the guidance of the bill, or someone who “aids or abets” the performance of an abortion against the rules of the bill.

READ: Texas abortion law strains clinics: ‘Exactly what we feared’

That includes someone who pays for or reimburses the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, “regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this chapter.”

State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-District 47, said the bill is “disgusting” and “extremist.”

“You think you can’t get worse than Texas and then a Florida Republican files a bill,” Eskamani said. “This legislation goes even farther to put in place anti-abortion restrictions it’s not only dangerous but it’s unconstitutional.”

VIDEO: Florida prepares to follow Texas in banning abortions

Eskamani said the bill could also be detrimental to the state’s economy.

“It’s offensive, it’s anti-Florida and not only is it a dangerous bill, it strips down our bodily autonomy and our ability to make personal medical decisions about our pregnancy but it’s a major disaster for our economy,” Eskamani said.

In Texas, companies have left the state or changed plans to expand there following its ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. And the Department of Justice is suing Texas to try to block the ban.

Senate Democratic leader Lauren Book also released a statement condemning the bill.

“Women’s fears have been realized with the filing of an extreme Texas-style anti-abortion bill in the Florida House,” Book said in the statement. “Rooted in rhetoric instead of science, the bill cruelly strips women of their right to choose what happens to their own bodies.”

The bill also changes the state’s current abortion law language referring to a fetus as an “unborn child.”

Read the bill in full below:

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.