Florida ‘Preborn Intrauterine Heartbeat Act’ Bill (HB 271)
This law was last updated on Aug 3, 2020
HB 271 would make it a felony to perform an abortion where the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, even if the pregnant patient gives informed consent to go through with the procedure.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many even realize that they are pregnant.
Prior to the performance or inducement of an abortion and except in the case of a medical emergency, the bill would require an abortion provider to determine whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat. The person who performs the examination for the presence of a fetal heartbeat would be required to offer the pregnant person the option to view or hear the fetal heartbeat.
If the patient declines, they would need to complete a form acknowledging that they were offered an opportunity to view and hear the fetal heartbeat but that they declined. The form would also need to indicate that the patient’s decision was not based on any undue influence from any person to discourage them from viewing or hearing the fetal heartbeat and that they declined of their own free will.
The bill would prohibit a person from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
This would not apply if two physicians certify in writing that the abortion is necessary to save the pregnant person’s life or avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person other than a psychological condition. If another physician is not available for consultation, then the primary physician must certify in writing that there is a medical necessity for performing the abortion.
The bill would replace the term “fetus” in state statutes regarding abortion with the term “unborn human being.” The bill defines “unborn human being” to mean an individual organism of the species Homo sapiens from fertilization until live birth.
The bill was withdrawn from consideration.
1/14/2020 – Introduced
3/14/2020 – Indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration