Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican in the Florida state Senate, has filed a bill to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
Gruters introduced the “Florida Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” for the upcoming legislative session in response to a controversial vote in New York state which expanded abortion rights.
Currently, Florida state law allows abortions to be performed up to 24 weeks.
On the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s Reproductive Health Act (RHA) into law.
After signing the bill into law, Cuomo said, “Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion. With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body.”
The RHA has been seen by advocates as necessary to “safeguard abortion rights” if the Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade ruling. The RHA moves abortion laws from the criminal code to the realm of public health and expands rights.
However, others are angry at the leeway it provides to those seeking abortions in any term. Critics say the language is vague and the act is “too far-reaching,” expanding abortion up until birth, through the third trimester.
In addressing late-term abortions, if the fetus “is not viable” or when it is necessary to protect the “life and health” of the mother, abortions are permitted after 24 weeks.
Also, under the New York law, certain medical professionals who are not doctors are allowed to perform abortions, such as midwives.
Compared to other states, New York abortion laws are much less restrictive. For example, a number of states, have provisions that include waiting periods, consent requirements, and other restrictive statutory language.
Gruters says the new New York law is “radical” and that “Late term abortion is an assault on basic human decency to other humans. It is now legal in New York up to the point of the baby exiting the birth canal…Ironically, murders and child rapists have more protections in New York without a death penalty.”