(Trends Wide) — A Florida Republican state legislator introduced a bill on Wednesday that is modeled after the strict Texas law prohibiting abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. The move was condemned by supporters of abortion rights, who fear that such legislation will soon be introduced in other states.
House Bill 167 was introduced by Florida State Legislator Webster Barnaby. The bill, like Texas law, contains a procedural issue that allows private citizens to bring lawsuits against physicians who perform abortions after six weeks’ gestation, as well as against anyone who “deliberately participates in conduct that helps or incites to perform or induce an abortion “. “Florida law, like Texas law, also provides for repairs and damages.
The bill’s presentation comes weeks after the Supreme Court allowed Texas law to take effect and several days after a doctor in the state, who publicly claimed he had violated the ban, received at least two lawsuits. Both plaintiffs say they oppose the new law, but are eager to present the challenge to a judge.
The Florida bill allows lawsuits to be filed for up to six years after an abortion was performed in violation of the law, while supporters of the Texas law say the measure creates a four-year window for filing lawsuits.
Also, the way this bill is worded makes it extremely difficult to defy the ban until it goes into effect, and even then there are major roadblocks.
NARAL Pro-Choice America says it is “horrified to see anti-abortion politicians in Florida in the footsteps of Texas. “
“There is no question that legislators hostile to reproductive freedom in other states will follow suit,” Adrienne Kimmell, the group’s acting president, said in a statement. “The damage from these draconian attacks, which have a most acute impact on those who already face the greatest barriers to accessing care, cannot be overstated.”
In which states could similar legislation be filed?
The group said lawmakers from 10 states have made it clear that they plan to introduce bills similar to Texas’ in their own state chambers. These states are Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America.
A source who is working in coordination with other states to draft similar legislation said that while some of the attempts are going to fail, he expects at least 10 states to make serious efforts to enact bills similar to those in Texas.
Trends Wide reached out to Barnaby’s office for comment.
After the Supreme Court allowed the Texas law to take effect earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told reporters that he supported more restrictions on abortion. “I am pro-life. I welcome pro-life legislation.”
“What they did in Texas was interesting,” the Republican governor said at the time. “I’m going to analyze it a little more thoroughly.”