State Watch

Florida Republican files abortion bill similar to Texas’s

A Republican state lawmaker in Florida filed an abortion bill similar to Texas’s new, controversial restrictions on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy .

House Bill 167, filed by Florida state Rep. Webster Barnaby (R), would prohibit a pregnant person from obtaining an abortion after a “fetal heartbeat” is detected, according to its text.   

The measure would provide an exception for instances where a “medical emergency” exists. 

The legislation also allows private citizens to sue those who knowingly performs or “aids or abets” in an abortion in violation of the law, “regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion” would have not been allowed.  

Citizens would be allowed to sue six years after the alleged violation occurred. 

In addition, if the claimant “prevails” in their law suit, the citizen would be awarded at least $10,000 each for “each abortion” that the defendant performed or induced. The same sum would be given for each abortion in which a defendant aids and abets.

A companion measure to the bill has not been introduced in the state’s Senate, according to local news outlet Florida Politics.

Texas’s abortion law, S.B. 8, took effect earlier this month after the Supreme Court refused to take up an emergency challenge to block it. 

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit seeking to block Texas’s law. A hearing in the case has been scheduled for Oct. 1.

After the law went into effect, Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R) said that state lawmakers were ready to introduce a similar measure.

At the time, he said that when the high court made a decision it ”clearly is going to send a signal” to other states to look into more restrictive abortion measures.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) initially said that he would look “more significantly” at Texas’s law after it was passed, however a spokesperson for his office later clarified that the type of enforcement action was being “carefully considered.”

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