Pending bills would restrict, ban abortions

By Mike Vasilinda, Reporter, Capitol News Service
Published On: Mar 17 2014 04:43:36 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 17 2014 04:44:11 PM EDT
Florida State Seal
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Three bills filed in the State House and State Senate are raising concern among women who want the right to choose when it comes to having a baby.

Planned Parenthood took more than 100 women to the Capitol Monday to make their voices heard, but abortion foes were also at the Capitol with a much smaller presence.

The Personhood Amendment is new, has no signatures verified and faces an uphill battle for the 2016 ballot.

A hundred women wearing pink braved stormy weather to make it to the Capitol, with concerns their right to control their bodies might change this legislative session.

The three pending bills would restrict or ban abortions altogether.

Laura Robinson made the trip from Sarasota.

"It's extremely important, that's why we're all here. We're all here to make sure that women's rights are protected," said Robinson, with Planned Parenthood.

Sarah Hutchinson, from Catholics for Choice, made it clear that Florida's bishops, who want restrictions, don't speak for all Catholics.

"We imagine a world where women and men are trusted to make moral decisions about their own lives each according to his or her own conscience," Hutchinson said.

A handful of Democratic legislators came to show support, but no GOP members showed up. Rep. Joe Saunders said his Republican colleagues are out of step.

"We keep seeing the same bills filed, we keep seeing the same bills move," Saunders said. "The public is not where this building is when it comes to women's health care."

On the back side of the Capitol is the other side of the story. In the shadow of the State Supreme Court, which more than two decades ago called a fetus a specialized set of cells, a small group from Fort Myers was collecting petitions to change the court decision. They want to give a fetus personhood status at conception.

"And we wish also that all the rights of all the females that are in fetus, that those will be protected so that they could choose," said Kathy Doan, with for the Personhood Amendment.

None of the restrictive legislation is so far on the fast track and neither side is likely to claim victory in an election year.

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