GOP Florida state Rep. Webster Barnaby on Wednesday filed a bill similar to the recently-passed Texas law banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, Florida Politics reported.
The bill, HB 167, states that unless the pregnant woman’s life is at risk, “a physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat … or failed to conduct a test to detect a fetal heartbeat,” according to WFTV reporter Karla Ray.
This legislation would also impose a measure similar to the Texas law by making private citizens responsible for enforcing the restriction, and not the state’s law enforcement, according to Florida Politics.
Although Florida’s state Senate has not filed abortion legislation in the model of the Texas law, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Republican, said that lawmakers are considering similar legislation.
“When the Supreme Court goes out and makes a decision like this, it clearly is going to send a signal to all the states that are interested in banning abortions or making it more restrictive to have an abortion,” Simpson said earlier this month, according to WFLA in Tampa.
Florida Democrats have criticized Republicans in the state for moving forward on legislation to restrict abortion access, with Rep. Anna V. Eskamani saying that “It’s a sad day in the Florida House when legislation like HB 167 is filed.”
She added, “This gross excuse of a bill attacks women and birthing people who are seeking an abortion before they even know they are pregnant. Extreme attacks on reproductive health are not about policy, it is about control, shame, and will negatively impact communities who already experience barriers to accessing care.”