OPINION: Florida abortion bill threat to bodily autonomy
Florida State Rep. Webster Barnaby filed HB 167 on Sept. 22, an anti-abortion bill which forces physicians to test for a “fetal heartbeat” when a woman tries to get an abortion and reject the procedure if one is detected.
Barnaby’s proposal would ban abortions after six weeks, punish doctors with fines of up to $10,000 if caught providing an abortion after this time and also allow lawsuits to be brought to court up to six years after an abortion was provided against the law.
The bill is unconstitutional, rooted in ignorance and completely disregards public opinion on terminating pregnancies. Pro-choice state representatives need to take a stand to protect human rights.
In 1973, the Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s choice to have an abortion without “excessive government intervention,” according to the decision. The bill goes directly against this precedent.
Morning sickness usually doesn’t start until six weeks into a pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association, so once an individual knows to consult a doctor about a possible pregnancy, they won’t even be able to consider an abortion.
False narratives by anti-choice activists have led to such “heartbeat bills.” A “heartbeat” at six weeks is merely the pulsing of a blood vessel, according to Marquette University anthropologist Michelle Rodrigues. Not until 10-12 weeks is the heart in a fetus developed enough to be identified as an actual heart.
Individuals also don’t have to undergo surgery six weeks into a pregnancy. Many clinics provide abortion pills, specifically mifepristone and misoprostol, at the office and to take later at home which results in cramping and bleeding as her uterus is essentially flushed out. Taking the pills this early allows for them to be about 94%-98% effective, according to Planned Parenthood.
Abortions are supported by many Americans, according to the 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation Abortion Knowledge and Attitudes Poll. About 61%, or 741 of 1,215 people equally divided into Democrats, Republicans and Independents, said they wanted to protect a woman’s access to pregnancy termination.
Anti-abortion laws have always strived to strip women of their bodily autonomy, fulfilling a grotesque political agenda driven by misogyny. Pro-choice state representatives must be consistently vocal leading up to the 2022 legislative session to protect Floridians’ human rights.