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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

State officials want to ban this specific method for abortion

<p>The Florida Capitol Complex in Tallahassee, Florida.&nbsp;</p>

The Florida Capitol Complex in Tallahassee, Florida. 

Terry Sanders remembers each of the about 20 people who pleaded to elected officials not to restrict abortion.

But when the votes came in — nine “yeas” and six “nays” — a bill that would restrict how abortion is carried out advanced in the Florida House of Representatives Wednesday.

“I was really angry,” said Sanders, the president of the Florida National Organization for Women. “(The members of the subcommittee) all had the same talking points. They weren’t listening to the public.”

A House subcommittee passed the Dismemberment Abortion House Bill, which intends to ban abortion-by-dismemberment. The procedure involves the removal of fetuses one piece at a time with instruments like forceps or tongs.

This procedure is most commonly used on women in their second trimester, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The bill, however, would not restrict abortions performed by suction or when they are necessary to save the mother’s life.

Although it passed through the Health Quality subcommittee, the bill, introduced by Reps. Erin Grall and Joe Gruters, still needs to pass two committees before the House can vote on it. A companion bill was introduced to the state Senate by Sen. Debbie Mayfield.

Due to being in session when contacted, Rep. Grall wasn’t available to comment. The Alligator did not reach out to Rep. Gruters.

Sanders said she attended the subcommittee meeting to testify against the bill because she thinks abortion-by-dismemberment is the safest method for women in their second trimester.

“They’re putting their personal bias against women’s lives,” Sanders said.

Autumn Prieto, founder and president of a UF medical student organization called Medical Students for Life, praised the bill as a step in the right direction.

She said she thinks since the bill does not intend to restrict all methods of abortion. It wouldn’t largely affect women seeking abortions because it only restricts a type of procedure, she said.

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“The real problem is that abortion is an attack on the dignity of every human person,” Prieto said.

The bill specifies that the physician performing the procedure will be prosecuted, instead of the mother receiving the abortion, which Prieto said she agrees with. The bill would make performing an abortion-by-dismemberment a third-degree felony and a second-degree felony if the mother were to die in the process.

“There are two lives that (physicians) are obligated to protect: mother and baby,” Prieto said. “It falls on the physician to do no harm.”

The Florida Capitol Complex in Tallahassee, Florida. 

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