Florida for Life Act 2013 (HB 395)
This law was last updated on Oct 12, 2016
HB 395 would ban abortion outright unless certain requirements are met, including:
- Two physicians certify in writing that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the termination of a pregnancy is necessary to prevent the death of the patient;
- Two physicians certify in writing that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the termination of a pregnancy is necessary because to continue the pregnancy would unreasonably reduce the likelihood of successful treatment of a life-threatening disease of the patient; or
- The attending physician certifies in writing that a medical emergency existed and another doctor was not available for consultation prior to termination of the pregnancy. The medical condition must be “clearly described.”
The bill would prohibit anyone not a physician from performing an abortion and would require that abortions be performed in a hospital or other medical establishment.
The bill states that a physician may not perform an abortion without the voluntary and written informed consent of the patient, court-appointed guardian of a mentally-incompetent patient, or a minor’s parent or legal guardian. The physician must personally inform the patient or the patient’s guardian of the following:
- The nature and risks of undergoing or not undergoing the proposed procedure;
- The probable gestational age of the fetus;
- The medical risks to the patient and fetus of carrying the pregnancy to term;
- All other factors, including physical, emotional,psychological, and familial factors, relevant to the short-term and long-term well-being of the patient, including the emotional and psychological impact relating to the loss of human life through voluntary termination of the pregnancy.
The bill states that a physician performing an abortion must provide to patients or their guardians printed materials prepared by the Florida Department of Health which includes:
- An accurate estimate of the stage of biological development, gestational age, length, weight, and viability of the unborn human person;
- A list of agencies that offer alternatives to terminating the pregnancy; and
- Detailed information on the availability of medical assistance benefits for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care.
The bill would also require physicians performing an abortion to provide patients or their guardians with information regarding adoption and a statewide list of attorneys available to provide volunteer legal services for adoption.
A violation of the above provisions of this bill would be a felony, and the maximum penalty would be life in prison.
The bill would allow health-care providers and institutions to refuse to participate in terminating a pregnancy and would immunize them from liability for the refusal. The bill would also prevent any kind of disciplinary action or recrimination against a person based on their refusal. This provision mirrors conscience clauses that have been introduced in other states (Pennsylvania, for example) although the bill does not tie the refusal to provide an abortion to conscience.
Insurance Coverage Ban
The bill would amend the restriction on use of public funds for abortion to remove the exception for rape, incest, and health of the mother. If passed, Florida law would prohibit public funds for abortion without exception.
Companion bill to SB 1056. The Florida Life Act has been introduced in successive legislative sessions dating back at least to 2010. They have never passed and are unconstitutional.