Naturally, Florida Republicans Seek to Simplify Legal Action Against Abortion-Performing Doctors

Of Course Florida Republicans Want to Make It Easier to Sue Doctors Who Perform Abortions

Last April, Florida Republicans clearly expressed their stance on reproductive freedom by passing a bill prohibiting abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. In a move that further underscores their position, they are now seeking to facilitate legal action against doctors performing the medical procedure.

The proposed legislation, HB 651, has raised significant concerns among abortion advocates. Reports from Politico and the Orlando Sentinel highlight that the bill would empower parents to file civil lawsuits for the wrongful death of an “unborn child.”

Despite assertions from supporters that the bill is not intended to restrict abortion, critics remain skeptical. Democratic representative Ashley Gantt attempted to introduce an amendment to safeguard abortion providers, but it was rejected by Republicans.

Naturally, Florida Republicans Seek to Simplify Legal Action Against Abortion-Performing Doctors
Naturally, Florida Republicans Seek to Simplify Legal Action Against Abortion-Performing Doctors (Credits: Vanity Fair)

Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, pointed out the ambiguity, stating, “We’ve now heard from both of the bill sponsors that this isn’t about abortion; however, two things happened.

One, they didn’t accept an amendment to clarify that, and you also had opposition testimony, clearly stating that this should be a path to personhood.”

Democratic leader of the Florida Senate, Lauren Book, labeled the bill as a veiled attempt to enable legal action against women and doctors in cases of wanted and necessary abortion care.

The book criticized it as a dangerous instance of state overreach aimed at controlling women and stripping away their rights and freedoms.

In a parallel move, Republicans in Florida’s Senate introduced legislation akin to HB 651, with State Senator Erin Grall as the sponsor. Notably, Grall was also the sponsor of Florida’s six-week abortion ban, which she deemed a compromise due to exceptions for rape and incest.

Rolling Stone reported that the anti-abortion group Florida Family Action has advocated for the legislation, drawing criticism from Democratic state representative Anna Eskamani.

Eskamani argued that the bill could embolden abusers to target partners seeking abortion care, drive more doctors out of their professions, and establish a legal framework to target pregnant individuals and their loved ones.

The report highlighted instances in other states, such as Alabama and Arizona, where men sued doctors for wrongful death after providing legal abortions. In Texas, a man named Marcus Silva is suing his ex-wife’s friends for wrongful death, claiming they assisted her in obtaining pills to terminate her pregnancy.

Dana Sussman, deputy executive director of the advocacy organization Pregnancy Justice, emphasized two key concerns.

Firstly, the normalization of attributing rights to an unborn entity, and secondly, the potential for another person, typically a partner, to argue legal standing to sue over a pregnancy outcome. Sussman noted that such legal theories, while unconventional, can find acceptance in the judiciary.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.