Rep. Charles Van Zant is one of the most socially conservative Republicans in the Florida House. It's not surprising, because the man is also a Southern Baptist minister. Every year since 2010, he's filed legislation that would criminalize abortion in Florida, in direct conflict with the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade.
The bill has never even made it as far as committee before, but Rep. Carlos Trujillo, a Miami Republican and the chair of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, has now scheduled the bill to be heard in committee for the first time.
Dubbed the "Florida for Life Act," Van Zant's bill would make it a first-degree felony for "any person who induces an abortion or performs, attempts to perform, or assists another in the performance of an induced abortion on another person." Anyone who runs a facility that provides abortions would also be charged with a first-degree felony. The only exceptions would be for serious health threats to the mother.
No exceptions would be made in cases of rape or incest.
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The bill would also have the Legislature declare in law "that all human life comes from the Creator, has an inherent value that cannot be quantified by man, and begins at the earliest biological development of a fertilized human egg."
If passed, the bill would almost certainly end up in court as directly violating the Supreme Court's findings in Roe v. Wade. Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to get involved in a lower court's decision that North Dakota's attempt to enact a law limiting abortions was unconstitutional.
Von Zant is no stranger to controversy. He made national headlines in 2014 when he proclaimed that Common Core standards would help "children to become as homosexual as they possibly can." Because of term limits, this will be Von Zant's last year in the House. His wife has started a campaign to succeed him in his North Florida district.