With the passage of two abortion bills by the Senate on Thursday, three pro-life measures are now headed to Gov. Rick Scott for him to sign into law. Among them: A bill requiring that women be offered the opportunity to see and hear a description of ultrasound images before undergoing an abortion.
The measure passed by a vote of 24 to 15 on Thursday after some passionate and emotional debate.
Republican Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, scolded her colleagues for spending so much time talking about abortion when there are more pressing issues.
"I will vote no on every abortion bill," she said. "It is the wrong thing for us to be discussing." More appropriate, she said, is legislation that helps people find jobs, stay in their homes, and put food on their tables.
Republican Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, agreed. "I personally resent writing legislation that acts like I'm too stupid to confer with my own doctor," she said.
Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, accused Republican lawmakers of being hypocritical for argued that government shouldn't interfere in the doctor/patient relationship when supporting legislation aimed at the federal health care law, but then supporting the ultrasound measure.
Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, the sponsor of the bill, responded: "There's no question about the contradictory positions that we all take. I'm not ashamed by it," she said. But lawmakers, she said, can't be expected not to bring the sum of their personal experiences to their work in the Capitol.
"The great questions of life is why we are here," she said. "Every day, every law, every vote that you take is a value that you have made."
The Senate also voted 26 to 12 in favor of a bill that, among other things, requires minors seeking a judicial waiver for parental notification of an abortion to get the waiver in circuit court rather than the wider reaching appeals court. Supporters say it prevents teens from crossing the state to find a sympathetic judge. Opponents say it threatens the safety and privacy of young women in small communities where everyone knows everyone, including courthouse workers.
The House on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that prohibits health insurance plans created through the federal health care law from offering coverage of abortion, sending that proposal to the governor for his signature.