Florida for Life Act Would Outlaw Most Abortions, Seeks to Overturn Roe v. Wade

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The Florida for Life Act might as well be titled the Florida for Life Imprisonment of Doctors Providing Abortions Act, because that's essentially what it would do.

The proposed bill, filed by Rep. Charles Van Zant and cosponsored by four other male Republicans, would outlaw most abortions in the state. The only exception would be for the health of the mother (even in those cases, the doctor would need a second physician to approve the procedure). There would be no exceptions for incest or rape.

The bill would make abortion a felony, but instead of punishing patients, it would punish doctors. They could face up to life in jail.

Feminist observers, while opposing the bill all-out, find it funny that only the doctors would be punished.

"The general anti-choice sentiment is that women are victims of abortion. That we're too stupid or naive to realize that when we're getting an abortion, we're getting an abortion," writes a blogger at Feministing.

"This 'punish the provider, not the patient' philosophy seems to stem from the popular anti-choice sentiment that women are victims of abortions, not well-informed, active participants in the process. In that scenario, abortion providers are like the Big Bad Wolf preying on innocent Little Red Riding Hood, which is insulting to women on many levels," chimes in Roxy MtJoy at Change.org.

Well, what about Roe v. Wade? The bill makes it very clear that it would invalidate the decision.

"The Legislature finds that in the years following the Roe opinion, the standard of decency of the people of Florida has evolved to such a degree that at this time they demand the right to exercise their political rights as guaranteed under the United States Constitution and under the Constitution of the state of Florida to enact legislation prohibiting unnecessary abortion in Florida."

Though, it's doubtful, even with a Republican-controlled legislature, the body would want to take up such a decisive issue in an election year. But House Speaker Larry Crutul tells the Jacksonville Observer: "[Van Zant] is a very passionate guy and he believes that needs to have some public discussion. I told him, 'Work your bill, and we'll see what happens.'"

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