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

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp
Of Course Florida Republicans Want to Make It Easier to Sue Doctors Who Perform Abortions

Florida Republicans made their feelings about reproductive freedom pretty obvious last April when they passed a bill banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. But in case their position on abortion wasn’t entirely clear, they’re now attempting to make it easier to sue doctors who perform the medical procedure.

Abortion advocates are deeply concerned about the ramifications of HB 651, legislation that would let parents file civil lawsuits for the wrongful death of an “unborn child,” according to reports by Politico and the Orlando Sentinel. While supporters of the bill insist it is not about restricting abortion, critics are not buying it, and it’s not hard to see why: Democratic representative Ashley Gantt filed an amendment to the proposed bill that would have protected abortion providers, and it was rejected by Republicans. “We’ve now heard from both of the bill sponsors that this isn’t about abortion; however, two things happened,” Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said last week, per the Orlando Sentinel. “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.”

“This bill…is a thinly veiled attempt to allow men to sue women and doctors in cases of wanted and needed abortion care,” Lauren Book, the Democratic leader of the Florida Senate, told Politico. “It’s dangerous, wrong, and yet another instance of state overreach to control women and take away their rights and freedoms.” Republicans in Florida’s Senate have introduced legislation similar to HB 651; that bill is being sponsored by State Senator Erin Grall, who, not coincidentally, also sponsored Florida’s six-week abortion ban. (Fun fact: Grall called the ban a compromise because of its exceptions for rape and incest. “The termination of life, period, meets the definition of murder,” she said last year.)

As Rolling Stone reported earlier this month, the antiabortion group Florida Family Action has advocated for the legislation, which Democratic state representative Anna Eskamani has said “will open up the door for abusers to go after their partners who seek abortion care, will push more doctors out of their professions, and create a legal framework that will absolutely be used to target pregnant people and their loved ones.” As Rolling Stone noted, that’s already been the case in other states:

In Alabama and Arizona, men have sued their ex-partners’ doctors for wrongful death after the doctors provided legal abortions to those women. (The Alabama lawsuit was ultimately dismissed; the Arizona case is ongoing.) In Texas, a man named Marcus Silva is currently suing three of his ex-wife’s friends for wrongful death, alleging they helped her obtain pills to terminate her unwanted pregnancy. Silva is seeking $1 million in damages from each woman. In text messages introduced as part of that case, he allegedly promised to drop the lawsuit if his ex-wife had sex with him.

“There’s two issues here,” Dana Sussman, deputy executive director of the advocacy organization Pregnancy Justice, told Rolling Stone. “One is the slippery slope that we’ve seen play out that normalizes the idea of an unborn child, or fetus, or fertilized egg, or embryo as an entity for which you can attach rights. The second issue is the bill would create an opportunity for another person—the other partner—to make an argument that he has the legal standing to sue over a pregnancy outcome. It just takes someone who’s willing to try that legal theory out—and as we’ve seen, judges accept rogue arguments.”

Read More

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles