‘Fetal heartbeat’ bill to be considered

TALLAHASSEE — State Rep. Mike Hill presented a “fetal heartbeat” bill (HB 235) on Jan. 10, which will be considered during the legislative session in the spring. This bill would require an ultrasound to be performed before all abortions and if a heartbeat were detected, it would make the abortion a third-degree felony if it were performed, except in cases of domestic violence, incest, rape, human trafficking or the severe risks to the health and life of the mother.

The bill also would change the terminology in the state’s abortion laws. Rather than using the term “fetus,” the term would be replaced with “unborn human being.” The bill would also require that the ultrasound be done within the 24-hour period prior to the abortion and that the results be discussed with the woman. If she chooses not to discuss the results, she would have to put it in writing to ensure she did so of her own free will.

At this time, the state of Florida allows abortions up to 24 weeks’ pregnancy.

Pro-choice advocates are not happy with the bill, with Rep. Anna Eskamani calling it “an extreme anti-reproductive health care bill.”

Pro-life activists are ecstatic, and because Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged to sign fetal heartbeat legislation during his campaign, they believe this legislation has a good chance of passing.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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