We want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who took the time to travel to Tallahassee last week and lobby the Florida Legislature for LIFE. This past Thursday, Florida Right to Life hosted LIFE DAY at the Capitol. Pro-life advocates from across our state came to pray and speak with legislators about the importance of life and the need to support both pro-life legislation and pregnancy care centers.
Your efforts made a lasting impression on our elected officials. We have already received reports of the impact that you have made. We were pleased to see two very important pro-life victories in the Florida House the very next day. We have had a fantastic week in the Florida Legislature! Here are some highlights:
We are focusing our legislative efforts on two major pro-life bills being sponsored this session. We are pleased to report both bills are actively moving and have made significant progress over the last few days.
Offenses Against Unborn Children – HB 59/SB 162 by Representative Larry Ahern and Senator Kelli Stargel: This bill will create the “Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act” and will make it a crime if a person harms or injures a woman and causes the death of, or bodily injury to, her unborn child. Any offense against an unborn child will be treated as a separate offense, and will receive the same punishment had the death or injury occurred to the mother. The bill passed the House on Friday with 74 yeas and 42 nays. This legislation has been filed in the Florida Legislature for several years but has never passed both chambers in the same year. We are very hopeful that this will finally be the year that women and unborn children receive protection and justice. The bill is now ready for a vote on the Senate floor next week.
Termination of Pregnancies – HB 1047/SB 918 by Representative Janet Adkins and Senator Anitere Flores: Florida law currently prohibits abortions in the third trimester, with exceptions for the life and physical and mental health of the mother. This legislation advances the protection of the unborn by prohibiting elective abortions when a physician, using his/her medical judgment, determines the child is viable outside the womb. Physicians will be required to perform tests to determine viability and document the results. The bill passed the House on Friday with 70 yeas and 45 nays. The bill now moves to the Senate Rules Committee, and then to the Senate floor.
We were in the House chamber as debate over both bills took place. The debate for HB 59 – Offenses Against Unborn Children was truly unbelievable. The way that opponents of life tried to frame this issue was horrifying. Abortion supporters know that anything which calls attention to the humanity of the unborn is not simply an inconvenience to their extreme agenda — it’s a threat.
The opposition to this legislation would have you believe that women value abortion “rights” over their right to give birth or their right for physical protection. They presume that you won’t be able to tell the difference between common sense protections and their empty political rhetoric. It’s hard to believe, but opponents against the bill said that it should not be a crime if an unborn child dies as a result of harm to the mother. They’ve used the same tired tactics year after year, and no doubt they hoped this year wouldn’t be any different.
They weren’t counting on Remee Lee. By now you are probably familiar with her powerful story. She has shared how her boyfriend tricked her into taking an abortion-inducing drug which tragically took the life of her unborn child, Memphis. She has courageously chosen to become an advocate for this bill so that others do not have to endure the pain she has been through.
It has been an absolute honor to work with Remee on behalf of this much-needed legislation. She has diligently traveled to Tallahassee to speak in support of Unborn Victims of Violence in committee meetings, and was present for the vote on the House floor. It was appalling to watch the venom of the opposing legislators who debated that Remee, or any woman like her, should not be protected under Florida law. Her grace and dedication to help protect other women and children from experiencing what she endured has been inspiring.
The debate against HB 1047 – Termination of Pregnancies was equally disturbing. Hearing legislators argue against the protection of a viable child illustrates how far from compassion and common sense their pro-abortion views really are. One member actually equated “a parent’s right for school choice for their child” to the role of the Legislature in “protecting an unborn life and giving a parent the right to abort a viable baby.” After all, choice is choice right?
Wrong. This tasteless comparison reminds us that all choices aren’t equal. Without life there would be no children to educate. This legislation simply calls for the protection of an unborn child that can live independently of its mother. Representative O’toole said, “We are a civilized people and we owe our children better.” We wholeheartedly agree!
As these bills move to the Florida Senate we are working diligently to ensure their passage. Although last week was encouraging, we are not going to rest yet. We need your help now more than ever! Our legislative session ends on May 2nd and Florida Right To Life is preparing for a final drive to see these bills cross the finish line and finally become law.
Advocating is not without expense to our organization and moving these important life issues has been costly to us. Unlike Planned Parenthood, we are not receiving any money from taxpayers and we rely 100% on donations from our friends who support and value human life. Because of YOU, we have been able to advance these bills every step of the way.
Will you continue to help us stand for life? Will you ensure that the State of Florida finally recognizes unborn victims of violence within our Florida law? Your gift of $25, $50, $100 or more will help us finish this legislative session strong!
We are here full-time at the Florida Capitol, speaking on behalf of those without a voice. But with your support, you are here as well. Thank you for all that you have done, and we are blessed and honored to stand with you in defense of all life!