Florida GOP’s Unscientific ‘Fetal Pain’ Bill Stalls
A contentious anti-abortion measure that would have imposed a 24-hour waiting period has stalled and is not likely to advance during this legislative session, GOP leaders said Monday.
With a 23-16 vote, a bipartisan coalition blocked the measure (SB 290) from advancing to the floor. The procedure required at least 26 “yes” votes to pass.
Shortly after the vote, Senate President Mike Haridopolos acknowledged his chamber would not take up the measure, with just four days left before the session is scheduled to end.
“Given the mood — the Senate chamber — they felt like with all the pressing issues, that this might take a little bit too much time,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, told reporters, adding that he supports the bill. “There are some folks who are in the pro-choice caucus within my Republican caucus who didn’t want to vote for this I think that vote expressed where people are at.”
The bill’s Senate sponsor, Anitere Flores, R-Miami, said she was disappointed there would not be a debate on the issue on the floor but promised the measure, which did not get a hearing on the floor last year either, would be revived again next year.
The House last week approved its version (HB 277), which would require abortion providers to inform women that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks, an assertion disputed within the scientific community. The bill also would have required clinics to be owned by doctors who specialized in abortion procedures during their residency, which critics said would have prevented any new clinics from opening.