After an emotional debate, a divided House committee passed a bill on Wednesday that would ban an abortion based on the sex or race of an unborn child, one of four abortion-related bills proposed this year.
Two Republicans crossed party lines and voted against the bill, even though Judiciary Committee Chairman Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, implored members "Isn't there something we can agree is wrong?"
Republicans Ray Pilon, of Sarasota, and Heather Fitzenhagen, of Fort Myers, said they couldn't agree with House Bill 845, which requires that a physician or health care professional be required to sign an affadavit stating that the reason for the abortion isn't related to the sex or race of the child. The penalty for performing an abortion based on those reasons would carry a civil fine of up to $10,000.
"I'm a very strong conservative Republican," Pilon said, but added he couldn't support the bill. "I believe in personal responsibility," he said, adding that the bill put the burden on the physician instead of the court system. Fitzenhagen said the bill, which passed by a vote of 10-7, gets into areas that "perhaps we shouldn't be delving in." The sole Democrat voting for the measure was Rep. Daphne Campbell of Miami.